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Jason DavisApril 28, 2015

Russian Resupply Ship Spins Out Of Control after Reaching Orbit

An International Space Station-bound cargo craft is spinning out of control in Earth orbit following an afternoon launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian Progress M-27M spacecraft launched at 1:09 p.m. local time Tuesday (3:09 a.m. EDT, 7:09 UTC) and reached a preliminary orbit shortly thereafter. But the situation soured when flight controllers in Moscow did not receive crucial telemetry from the vehicle’s systems. Live video from the spacecraft showed it spinning out of control.

The original four-orbit, six-hour flight plan was swapped out for a conventional two-day trip. But subsequent communications attempts could not establish whether Progress had deployed its navigational and rendezvous antennas; nor could the status of the spacecraft’s propulsions systems be determined.

As of now, docking has been delayed indefinitely while the situation continues to be analyzed. The next available communications window is 8:50 p.m. EDT.

Progress is carrying 2.7 metric tons of food and supplies, as well as fuel necessary to raise the station’s orbit. The spacecraft is currently the only vehicle with the latter capability.

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Roscosmos

Read more: mission status, International Space Station

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Jason Davis

Editorial Director for The Planetary Society
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