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Home News Attempts to contact Russian spacecraft ‘unsuccessful’

Attempts to contact Russian spacecraft ‘unsuccessful’

Published on 29/04/2015

Russia said on Wednesday that attempts to contact an unmanned Progress spacecraft have so far been unsuccessful, raising fears the vessel could be lost for good.

“There have been no improvements,” a mission control spokesman told AFP, adding that the spacecraft was still circling the Earth.

A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress M-27M spacecraft with supplies for the International Space Station successfully launched on Tuesday but communication with the vessel was lost soon afterwards.

The controllers had opted to change the flight plan and extend the vessel’s journey to two days instead of six hours in a bid to fix the glitch.

The mission control spokesman said a decision on the spacecraft’s fate would likely be announced later in the day.

He said he was not immediately aware if a decision was being made to destroy the Progress.

“It’s the first time that we have such a combination of emergency situations.”

The ship had been scheduled to dock with the ISS, where the international crew of six people is awaiting the cargo, on April 30.

A spokesman for the Russian space agency, Mikhail Fadeyev, declined immediate comment.

The Russian space programme is renowned for having sent the first man into space in 1961 and launching the first sputnik satellite four years earlier, and remains a major source of national pride.

But more recently it has endured a series of setbacks, notably losing expensive satellites and a similar Progress supply ship in 2011.

The next delivery to the ISS is planned by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship on June 19.

as/txw