Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Russia’s Progress space freighter debris may reach Earth on May 8. Hard-to-melt titanium and steel parts... (Roscosmos)

Russia’s Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft will be deorbited on May 8 and part of its debris may reach the Earth, Russian space agency Roscosmos told reporters on Wednesday.

"Roscosmos experts expect that the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft will cease to exist on May 8, 2015 at around between 01:23 a.m. and 9.55 p.m. Moscow time [between 22.23 GMT on May 7 and 18.55 GMT on May 8]," the space agency said.

The spacecraft will burn in the atmosphere, although some small fragments may reach the planet’s surface, Roscosmos said. The space agency said on Thursday more exact information may be unveiled on the time and possible area of the debris fall.

Hard-to-melt titanium and steel parts of Progress cargo ship may reach the Earth when the faulty unmanned freighter is dumped, a source in Russian rocket and space industry said last week.

"The only parts that can really pass through the dense layers of the atmosphere and fall to the Earth or into the ocean include spherical tanks made of thick-walled metal. Besides, they are sheltered by the spacecraft’s hull. There are more than a dozen of such spherical tanks aboard the Progress spacecraft," the source said.

The Russian Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences forecasts that the spacecraft will be deorbited on May 7-8.

The Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft was launched on April 28 from the Baikonur space center, in Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz carrier rocket. The spacecraft entered an unexpected orbit and communication with it was lost. After several unsuccessful attempts to put it under control, specialists agreed that docking it to the ISS would be impossible. Russia’s Roscosmos has decided to dump the cargo ship.



  1. Russia said an unmanned supply ship set for the International Space Station will fall back to Earth Friday and burn up in the atmosphere, after the spacecraft suffered a communications failure...

    The Progress supply ship is expected to "end its existence on May 8," between 1:23 a.m. and 9.55 p.m, Moscow time (2223 GMT Thursday and 0655 GMT Friday)," the Russian space agency said in a statement released Wednesday.

    "The space ship will completely burn up in the layers of the atmosphere and only a few small parts of elements of its construction could reach the surface of our planet," the space agency said.

    It said the crash would be similar to a planned descent. Russia sends three or four such spacecrafts per year to supply the ISS. They then fall back to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.

    The spacecraft, a Soviet design generally known for its reliability, blasted off for the ISS on April 28 carrying cargo including oxygen, water and spare parts for the orbiting space laboratory with a crew of six international astronauts, one of whom is set for a full year stint.

    A few hours after launch, mission control lost contact with it.

    A special commission is looking into the incident, the deputy head of Roscosmos space agency Alexander Ivanov said last week.

    The ISS crew are not in danger as an American supply ship could bring cargo by June 19.

    But a source in the space industry told Interfax news agency on Tuesday that mission control has told the crew to conserve resources.

    Russia has recently suffered a series of glitches exposing shortcomings in its space programme.

    An earlier Progress supply ship crashed into Siberia shortly after launch in 2011. Moscow has also lost several lucrative commercial satellites.

    Since the mothballing of the US shuttle, Moscow has had a monopoly on sending astronauts to the ISS from its Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

  2. Russia’s defunct Progress space freighter may be deorbited on Friday morning — scientists...

    Russian space freighter Progress M-27M may be deorbited on Friday morning at around 10:00 a.m. Moscow time, experts of the Russia’s Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have said.

    According to calculations of Professor Andrei Nazarenko, the cargo spacecraft is scheduled to fall between 2.00 a.m. GMT and noon GMT on May 8. "The average time of fall is 0700GMT on May 8 (10.00 a.m. Moscow time)," the calculations published on the institute’s website say.

    The professor notes that the spacecraft may be deorbited earlier due to unstable space weather.

    "Under preliminary estimations, a severe geomagnetic storm occurred on May 6. That’s why a slowdown of the spacecraft in the atmosphere and the approach of the moment of its fall should be expected," an explanatory note to the calculations says...........


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