A Russian spacecraft taking necessities to the International Space Station (ISS) has experienced a technical glitch, and is now hurtling back towards Earth. Progress M-27M, identified by NASA as Progress 59, may make landfall on the 11th or 12th May based on its trajectory.
Launched on 28th April, Progress 59 is currently circling in orbit. All attempts from the Russian ground control to contact with the unmanned craft have failed. The spacecraft is travelling at more than 16,000 miles per hour. It is rotating at a rate of 360 degrees every five seconds. The crash is unlikely to pose any threat to residents as the entire spacecraft is expected to burn up as it re-enters the atmosphere.
The spacecraft carried 2,357 kg of food, fuel and supplies, including 494 kg of propellant, 50 kg of oxygen, 420 kg of water, and 1,393 kg of spare parts, supplies and experiment hardware for the six members of the Expedition 43 crew aboard the ISS. Progress 59 was meant to orbit the Earth four times before docking with the ISS to have its cargo offloaded.
NASA in a statement stated that “an unspecified problem prevented Russian flight controllers from determining whether navigational antennas had deployed and whether fuel system manifolds had pressurized as planned”, the moment Progress 59 was released from the rocket carrying it skyward.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos has admitted that the Progress 59 freighter’s failed mission will cost 2.59 billion roubles (£32.8 million).
Russia’s space agency and NASA both said the six astronauts living on the ISS – two Americans, one Italian and three Russians – have sufficient supplies and are in no danger. The next delivery to them is planned by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship on June 19.
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