On Wednesday April 28, 2015 the Russian news media reported that a Russian spacecraft will crash into Earth’s atmosphere sometime next week. The spacecraft named Progress was launched on Tuesday but shortly after launching ran into some serious trouble. On top of ending up in the wrong orbit, Progress also entered an uncontrollable tailspin and though the Russian space agency has attempted to communicate with the spacecraft numerous times it has been unable to do so. According to a source from the factory that designed the craft the problem may have been due to the control device, which forced the engine to “overwork.”
The Russians launched Progress, which is an unmanned spacecraft, on Tuesday in an attempt to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. The unmanned spacecraft is filled with fuel, food, scientific equipment, and oxygen, but with it widely spinning out of control there is no hope it will ever reach its destination.
The Russian Space Agency tried unsuccessfully to establish contact with the spacecraft in an attempt to stop its spinning and put it back into the right orbit. Even if they were able to get the spacecraft into the proper orbit the uncontrollable spinning would present even more serious problems, as it would endanger the entire space station if they were to attempt to dock it manually.
Without control the Russian space agency’s options were limited. All they can do at this point is watch and see what happens. Experts believe that by no longer trying to commandeer the spacecraft that it will drop out of the current orbit and enter Earth’s atmosphere somewhere between May 5th and 7th. Upon entering our atmosphere only a small amount of debris will hit the planet, most of the spacecraft will simply burn up.
Reports first stated that Roscosmos had abandoned the spacecraft, but the Russians strongly denied this. However, according to the crew members, Russian Mikhall Kornienko and American Scott Kelly, of the International Space Station who are currently carrying out a one year mission Russian flight controllers had given up trying to take back control of the unmanned spacecraft.
Scott Kelly doesn’t seem to concerned with this new development, as he feels strongly that the programs take these things into account when planning the mission. On the other hand Mikhall Kornbienko admits it is a concern, but he is pretty confident that everything ill continue to go as planned at the space station until the next shipment arrives. As of right now SpaceX, a private company, plans to send a load of supplies up in June. And, while it hasn’t been stated for sure the Russian Space Agency may decide to move up the date of their next scheduled shipment, which wasn’t supposed to launch until August 6, 2015.