CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- Russian flight controllers have abandoned future attempts to recover an unmanned Russian re-supply spacecraft carrying more than 6,000 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station that continues to spin out of control in low Earth orbit. The spacecraft is expected to fall back to Earth within the next few days.
The Russian Progress 59 cargo spacecraft launched at 3:09 a.m. EDT on Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Once in orbit over 200 miles above the Earth, the spacecraft began to spin uncontrollably Tuesday morning.
As of 9:50 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Russian flight controllers were still unable to communicate commands through the telemetry system onboard the spacecraft as it made passes over Russian ground stations.
The International Space Station Expedition 43 crew was notified on Wednesday that docking with the International Space Station has been called off for the Progress 59 spacecraft. Meanwhile, the crew continued their work today with a variety of research and technology demonstration activities.
According to NASA, both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight on June 19th from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Video released by NASA shows images of the Earth, followed by space, followed by the Earth again, which was captured by a camera onboard Progress 59 as the spacecraft spun wildly.
Image and Video Credit: NASA