Thursday, April 30, 2015

Russian Progress Spaceship Loses Control

Earlier Progress spaceship in orbit.
Just a few days earlier, on Sunday, Progress M-25M deorbited and burned up in the atmosphere. The Pirs docking module was cleared for the upcoming docking of Progress M-27M. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.  On Tuesday April 28, the spacecraft was lifted up into orbit on a Soyuz 2-1A rocket on a path to get the robotic cargo ship to the ISS in a short six hour flight. According to Russian mission controllers, the spacecraft separated from the rocket OK and engineers prepared for a series of thruster burns that would move the Progress toward the station. 

Earlier Progress on approach to the ISS. Good view of the docking hatch.
Apparently engineers detected glitches in the communications with the craft. It seems that the solar panels did deploy, but some of the communications antennas suffered problems or were not deployed. Confirmation was made that the craft was spinning out of control, and several attempts to regain control over the last two days did not work. Russian Mission Control has declared a Loss of Mission. Their next task will be to try to deorbit the craft safely and burn it up in the atmosphere.

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