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Seven confirmed dead in Baikonur roof collapse
Posted: Tue, May 14, 2002, 10:16 AM ET (1416 GMT)
Seven bodies have been recovered from the debris of a hangar that partially collapsed Sunday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The search continues for an eighth person who was part of a team on the roof of Building 112 when it suddenly collapsed, falling up to 80 meters to the ground. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation. According to one possible explanation, an object from the roof fell and crushed one of several fuel tanks left over from the Energia launch vehicle program housed in the hangar; this created a blast of air that caused the roof to collapse. The hangar was originally built in the late 1960s for the Soviet manned moon program and was later used for the Energia and the Buran, the Soviet space shuttle. According to Spaceflight Now, part of the hangar housed satellite integration facilities used by Starsem, the French-Russian joint venture that uses the Soyuz booster for commercial launches. Those facilities are not believed to have been damaged in the roof collapse, however. The collapse should not affect upcoming launches from Baikonur, including the June 10 Soyuz launch of a Progress cargo mission to the International Space Station.
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