Lost Russian spacecraft may crash into Earth next week

Moscow: An unmanned Russian spacecraft ferrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) has gone out of control and will crash into the Earth’s atmosphere in about a week.

The Progress M-27M spacecraft, which went out of control shortly after reaching the orbit on Tuesday morning, will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in about a week, according to Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency.

The Russian space agency estimates that the craft will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere some time between May 5-7.

“It has started descending. It has nowhere else to go,” an official familiar with the situation was quoted as saying.

“It is clear that absolutely uncontrollable reactions have begun,” he added.

Meanwhile, experts said it is impossible to predict where the Progress ship could crash and its impact on the Earth.

The Progress cargo spacecraft was launched successfully early Tuesday by a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. But Russian flight controllers were unable to confirm the health of all the spacecraft’s systems after it separated from the Soyuz booster rocket’s third stage.

The Progress was carrying “1,940 pounds (880 kilos) of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,128 pounds of spare parts, supplies and scientific experiment hardware,” NASA said.

The Progress cargo ship disaster comes as the latest embarrassment for Russia’s space programme that has been recently hit by a series of mishaps.