Russia's space cargo ship likely damaged by external impact - Roscosmos

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia's Progress MS-21 space cargo ship that was undocked from the International Space Station and sank in the Pacific was likely damaged by an external impact, Russia's Roscosmos space agency said on Tuesday, citing preliminary data.

"Such conclusions are made on the basis of images that show changes on the outer surface of the ship," Roscosmos said on the Telegram messaging platform.

Roscosmos published a photograph that it said showed a hole of around 12 millimetres (0.47 inch) in a thermal control system's radiator. It said solar panels were also damaged.

Roscosmos reported loss of pressure in the ship on Feb. 11. Investigations into the incident have delayed the launch of craft to take two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut back from the space station.

The launch of the relief ship, Soyuz MS-23, will take place on Feb. 24, with docking with the ISS planned for Feb. 26, Roscosmos said on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova in Moscow and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Kim Coghill)