Russia Has Lost Control of Spacecraft

Unmanned cargo ship missed orbit, reportedly falling back to Earth
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 29, 2015 6:40 AM CDT

Russia's Mission Control has failed to stabilize a cargo ship spinning out of control in orbit, but it says it hasn't yet given up on saving the unmanned spacecraft. The Progress M-27M was launched yesterday and was scheduled to dock at the International Space Station six hours later to deliver 2.5 tons of supplies, including food and fuel. But flight controllers were unable to receive data from the spacecraft, which had entered the wrong orbit. Mission Control spokesman Sergei Talalasov told the Interfax news agency today that flight controllers were still trying to restore communication with the Progress.

"It has started descending. It has nowhere else to go," another official tells AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It is clear that absolutely uncontrollable reactions have begun." Russia's space agency and NASA both said the six crew members on board the orbiting space station have sufficient supplies and are in no danger. As for what will happen if the spacecraft does tumble back to Earth, the Guardian reports the capsules typically disintegrate upon re-entry, with any parts that aren't incinerated disappearing into the ocean or ending up on "one of Earth's great wastelands." (Read more Russia stories.)

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