Calamity cargo capsule DOOMED: Space station pod in fireball re-entry
We come in pieces
Vid Roscosmos has written off the Progress supply capsule that was supposed to deliver tons of cargo to the International Space Station. The Russian space agency said the out-of-control craft will burn up within days as it falls back to Earth.
Igor Komarov, head of Roscosmos, told a press conference on Wednesday that the $32.8m mission was a total loss, and that ground engineers and the ISS are unable to rescue the cargo pod, which went off into a spin shortly after launch on Tuesday.
The capsule is carrying about three tons of supplies and fuel for the ISS. Malfunctioning navigation antennas and a failed propulsion system means it is now spinning 360 degrees every five seconds as it falls through low Earth orbit at 16,000mph. It is expected to break up in the atmosphere in the next ten days.
Komarov said Russian engineers are trying to aim the Progress cargo pod so that any fragments of the spacecraft that don’t burn up will fall over water, but that it's going to be very tricky to do so since it's not known how the pod's cargo will burn on the way down. It is currently 160 miles up.
Those of a paranoid state of mind can track the capsule's progress as it flies around the world here, whereas the gamblers among you may want to take bets as to where and when it hits surface level. ®