russian space station falling to earth



(Related: "Fighting to Save Hubble Telescope From Fiery Death."). An Air Force center in charge of monitoring space threats at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., said the unmanned Space Station resupply cargo craft known as "Progress-M 27M" was initially determined to be in trouble at 3:04 A.M. on Wednesday.

A more refined re-entry date and time will become available, according to experts tracking the spacecraft. Bill Ailor, a Distinguished Engineer and a re-entry and space debris expert at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, agrees with Krag's view. Now, there is some speculation that an explosion may have occurred as the Progress 59 separated from its Soyuz booster's third stage, sending the supply ship into a tail spin. See how Russia's Progress cargo vehicles work in this Space.com infographic, How Russia's Progress Cargo Ships Work (Infographic), 6 Biggest Spacecraft to Fall Uncontrolled from Space, Inspiring future space explorers: Q&A with former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin.

But low-Earth orbit isn't a perfect vacuum. ", U.S. government tracks about 8,000 baseball-size or bigger objects in low-Earth orbit, "Robot Arm to Grab Robotic Ship—A Space Station First. Update 10:43 A.M.: This post has been updated with additional information from an interview with James Oberg, a space affairs analyst. "Even once it's down the mystery likely will continue," he added. (Related pictures: "Space Station's Observation Deck Unveiled."). Don Kessler, a seasoned orbital debris expert, said that without a detailed computer model prediction, he would not know if the ground hazard exceeds the standard of one chance in 10,000 of injuring any individual. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. "We have to live with these uncertainties," he said. Original article on Space.com. "I estimated the maximum light variations between 2 and 2.5 seconds," Amorim told Space.com, counting 14 flashes in 31 seconds as the errant spacecraft tumbled by overhead. Surviving pieces are now cooling and continue to slow down," Ailor said. Yes, there's a video. Still, at some point the mission will end, and the orbiting laboratory will be directed to plunge toward Earth.

"I'm not encouraged by past lack of Russian candor on actual threats from the random fall of their spacecraft … such as Mars-96 [November 1996] with its plutonium batteries and Phobos-Grunt [January 2012] with eleven tons of unused propellant. "They even found living organisms in a biological experiment that" the shuttle was bringing back to Earth. "It's long past time for the Russians to reactivate their own full-orbit Tracking Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) links based on newly-deployed [Russian] Luch satellites apparently now monopolized by unmanned, particularly military spacecraft," Oberg added.

The modified SM-3 missile was launched Feb. 21, 2008, from a Navy missile cruiser and hit the satellite before reentry, some 153 miles above the Pacific Ocean. The Joint Space Operations Center is closely tracking the craft and has set up reporting procedures to alert authorities to its fate. Aluminum has the lowest melting point and gives way first, followed by steel and titanium. [See photos of the Progress 59 cargo ship]. National Security Air Force Watching Falling Russian Satellite ‘Progress’ supply craft with toxic fuel to reenter in 10 days (Updated) International Space Station cargo spacecraft / AP

For example, Alex Amorim of Florianopolis in Brazil, caught the Progress cruising through his nighttime skies. "It would be an expensive proposition.". But there is an extremely small probability, he said, that somebody would be injured from the fall.

"You're converting all of that kinetic energy from the spacecraft's orbit into heat to slow it down," Ailor said, adding that "the things that [will disintegrate] first are the flimsiest components, like solar panels.". The failure also underscores the advances in closed loop life support systems and refueling options that need to be achieved, Smith said, before people can be sent on missions far from the safety of our home planet. New York, Please refresh the page and try again. (Image: © Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)). "It depends on the solar activity," Krag told Space.com, "and the impact on the density of Earth's atmosphere, which is very poorly understood today.". It had a greater mass than any previous spacecraft.

Some of the frozen fuel likely would survive the high-speed burn up of the craft as it reenters the atmosphere and potentially land on populated areas. But it's not practical to let the propellant simply run out: The ISS won't be completely destroyed by atmospheric reentry, and unless it's brought down intentionally, no one would know when or where chunks of debris would reach Earth. Watch video of Mir's debris trail taken from a South Pacific island. [How Russia's Progress Cargo Ships Work (Infographic)]. Space calendar 2020: Rocket launches, sky events, missions & more! "Like all objects that re-enter, it will most likely land in the ocean," Kessler told Space.com. Bigger modules will heat up and begin to soften or melt as the plunge continues. Smith said that, on another level, the Progress incident further demonstrates how dependent space crews are on supplies from Earth. "Larger things like this come down with big footprints, usually 400 miles [644 kilometers] long and as wide as 30 miles [48 kilometers]. Both probably dropped potentially hazardous fragments onto South America despite Russian insistence they 'safely' fell into the Pacific.". Mir was a space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia. James Oberg, a veteran reporter and writer on Russian space activities, said that the U.S. focus on the Progress 59 failure should be on any potential commonality of hardware between this doomed mission and equipment now being readied for follow-on missions, including for crews. Earlier this month Russia's space agency Roscosmos caused an inadvertent media frenzy when deputy head Vitaly Davydov stated in a video that the International Space Station (ISS) would sink into the Pacific Ocean in 2020.

"Hopeful guesses can't be tolerated … any potential shared threat needs to be tracked down and eliminated, even if this means taking a lot of time," Oberg said.

There was a problem. Another issue, Oberg said, is the dearth of useful telemetry that has hobbled investigations from the start. The Air Force said it did not know if the debris is from the rocket body or the vehicle itself. Another worrisome issue, Oberg added, is how much of the original load of toxic propellants remain onboard Progress when it re-enters. Ailor said that the rule of thumb for re-entering spacecraft is that anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent of the dry mass of the vehicle — the mass without propellants, liquids, and stored gas — will survive and impact the Earth's surface. Get breaking space news and the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more! The doomed spacecraft will fall to Earth soon. On April 28, Russia's uncrewed Progress 59 supply ship streaked into orbit atop a Soyuz launcher, intended to dock with the International Space Station. Thank you for signing up to Space. The 145-ton Russian space station zoomed around Earth until March 2001, when Roscosmos slowed Mir down so that it broke up over the South Pacific Ocean … As his Canon camera took images every 4 seconds of the sky scene, Amorim visually observed the Progress by way of 10x50 binoculars. (Image credit: Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)). "I'm crossing my fingers to observe the re-entry from here," he said. The space shuttle Endeavour sits docked to the ISS in an astronaut photograph taken May 23. © The satellite was traveling at around 17,500 miles per hour.

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A more refined re-entry date and time will become available, according to experts tracking the spacecraft. Bill Ailor, a Distinguished Engineer and a re-entry and space debris expert at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, agrees with Krag's view. Now, there is some speculation that an explosion may have occurred as the Progress 59 separated from its Soyuz booster's third stage, sending the supply ship into a tail spin. See how Russia's Progress cargo vehicles work in this Space.com infographic, How Russia's Progress Cargo Ships Work (Infographic), 6 Biggest Spacecraft to Fall Uncontrolled from Space, Inspiring future space explorers: Q&A with former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin.

But low-Earth orbit isn't a perfect vacuum. ", U.S. government tracks about 8,000 baseball-size or bigger objects in low-Earth orbit, "Robot Arm to Grab Robotic Ship—A Space Station First. Update 10:43 A.M.: This post has been updated with additional information from an interview with James Oberg, a space affairs analyst. "Even once it's down the mystery likely will continue," he added. (Related pictures: "Space Station's Observation Deck Unveiled."). Don Kessler, a seasoned orbital debris expert, said that without a detailed computer model prediction, he would not know if the ground hazard exceeds the standard of one chance in 10,000 of injuring any individual. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. "We have to live with these uncertainties," he said. Original article on Space.com. "I estimated the maximum light variations between 2 and 2.5 seconds," Amorim told Space.com, counting 14 flashes in 31 seconds as the errant spacecraft tumbled by overhead. Surviving pieces are now cooling and continue to slow down," Ailor said. Yes, there's a video. Still, at some point the mission will end, and the orbiting laboratory will be directed to plunge toward Earth.

"I'm not encouraged by past lack of Russian candor on actual threats from the random fall of their spacecraft … such as Mars-96 [November 1996] with its plutonium batteries and Phobos-Grunt [January 2012] with eleven tons of unused propellant. "They even found living organisms in a biological experiment that" the shuttle was bringing back to Earth. "It's long past time for the Russians to reactivate their own full-orbit Tracking Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) links based on newly-deployed [Russian] Luch satellites apparently now monopolized by unmanned, particularly military spacecraft," Oberg added.

The modified SM-3 missile was launched Feb. 21, 2008, from a Navy missile cruiser and hit the satellite before reentry, some 153 miles above the Pacific Ocean. The Joint Space Operations Center is closely tracking the craft and has set up reporting procedures to alert authorities to its fate. Aluminum has the lowest melting point and gives way first, followed by steel and titanium. [See photos of the Progress 59 cargo ship]. National Security Air Force Watching Falling Russian Satellite ‘Progress’ supply craft with toxic fuel to reenter in 10 days (Updated) International Space Station cargo spacecraft / AP

For example, Alex Amorim of Florianopolis in Brazil, caught the Progress cruising through his nighttime skies. "It would be an expensive proposition.". But there is an extremely small probability, he said, that somebody would be injured from the fall.

"You're converting all of that kinetic energy from the spacecraft's orbit into heat to slow it down," Ailor said, adding that "the things that [will disintegrate] first are the flimsiest components, like solar panels.". The failure also underscores the advances in closed loop life support systems and refueling options that need to be achieved, Smith said, before people can be sent on missions far from the safety of our home planet. New York, Please refresh the page and try again. (Image: © Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)). "It depends on the solar activity," Krag told Space.com, "and the impact on the density of Earth's atmosphere, which is very poorly understood today.". It had a greater mass than any previous spacecraft.

Some of the frozen fuel likely would survive the high-speed burn up of the craft as it reenters the atmosphere and potentially land on populated areas. But it's not practical to let the propellant simply run out: The ISS won't be completely destroyed by atmospheric reentry, and unless it's brought down intentionally, no one would know when or where chunks of debris would reach Earth. Watch video of Mir's debris trail taken from a South Pacific island. [How Russia's Progress Cargo Ships Work (Infographic)]. Space calendar 2020: Rocket launches, sky events, missions & more! "Like all objects that re-enter, it will most likely land in the ocean," Kessler told Space.com. Bigger modules will heat up and begin to soften or melt as the plunge continues. Smith said that, on another level, the Progress incident further demonstrates how dependent space crews are on supplies from Earth. "Larger things like this come down with big footprints, usually 400 miles [644 kilometers] long and as wide as 30 miles [48 kilometers]. Both probably dropped potentially hazardous fragments onto South America despite Russian insistence they 'safely' fell into the Pacific.". Mir was a space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia. James Oberg, a veteran reporter and writer on Russian space activities, said that the U.S. focus on the Progress 59 failure should be on any potential commonality of hardware between this doomed mission and equipment now being readied for follow-on missions, including for crews. Earlier this month Russia's space agency Roscosmos caused an inadvertent media frenzy when deputy head Vitaly Davydov stated in a video that the International Space Station (ISS) would sink into the Pacific Ocean in 2020.

"Hopeful guesses can't be tolerated … any potential shared threat needs to be tracked down and eliminated, even if this means taking a lot of time," Oberg said.

There was a problem. Another issue, Oberg said, is the dearth of useful telemetry that has hobbled investigations from the start. The Air Force said it did not know if the debris is from the rocket body or the vehicle itself. Another worrisome issue, Oberg added, is how much of the original load of toxic propellants remain onboard Progress when it re-enters. Ailor said that the rule of thumb for re-entering spacecraft is that anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent of the dry mass of the vehicle — the mass without propellants, liquids, and stored gas — will survive and impact the Earth's surface. Get breaking space news and the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more! The doomed spacecraft will fall to Earth soon. On April 28, Russia's uncrewed Progress 59 supply ship streaked into orbit atop a Soyuz launcher, intended to dock with the International Space Station. Thank you for signing up to Space. The 145-ton Russian space station zoomed around Earth until March 2001, when Roscosmos slowed Mir down so that it broke up over the South Pacific Ocean … As his Canon camera took images every 4 seconds of the sky scene, Amorim visually observed the Progress by way of 10x50 binoculars. (Image credit: Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)). "I'm crossing my fingers to observe the re-entry from here," he said. The space shuttle Endeavour sits docked to the ISS in an astronaut photograph taken May 23. © The satellite was traveling at around 17,500 miles per hour.
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