Defunct Russian spacecraft burns on re-entry over central Pacific Ocean

Russia’s Progress M-27M spacecraft that was supposed to have brought over three tons of food, oxygen, fuel and supplies to the International Space Station, burned up on re-entry on Thursday evening, the country’s space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.

Russia’s Tass news agency wrote “Earlier, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, reported that the spacecraft had lost the near-Earth orbit and burned in dense atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean at 05:04 a.m. Moscow Time on Friday, May 8.”

Tass quoted a Roscomos spokesman, who said “”The spacecraft entered dense atmosphere at the 160th coil above the central part of the Pacific.”

Progress Russian Spacecraft

The Progress M-27M spacecraft weighed only three tons, which is fairly small compared to others that supply ISS. (Image: Roscosmos)

The Russian space agency said it expected most of the spacecraft to burn up as it sped at ultra-high speed through the Earth’s atmosphere. However, small pieces may have got through and splashed down in the ocean.

The cargo spacecraft was launched on a Soyuz carrier rocket on 28th April from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan. Roscosmos says the rocket took the spacecraft on a higher-than-required orbit, making it impossible to dock with the International Space Station (ISS).

 

Ground control gave up on the idea of controlling Progress M-27M after several unsuccessful attempts.

An investigation is underway, authorities say, and expect a full report on the causes of the accident by 13th May.

According to Roscosmos, Russia has flown 62 Progress spacecraft to ISS to deliver vital supplies, with just two failures.

According to Space Daily, Astronomers in Moscow say they have videoed what they believe was the falling Russian spacecraft three days before it was scheduled to re-enter and burn up. The falling spacecraft has reportedly been captured re-entering the atmosphere by Russia’s MASTER telescope over South Africa.

The MASTER (Mobile Astronomical System of Telescope-Robots) network, which is managed by Moscow State University, is a global system of telescopes.

Video – Russian spacecraft plummets towards Earth

In this video, Al Jazeera’s Tarek Bazley reports on what happened to Russia’s Progress M-27M spacecraft.