US Air Force tracks spinning space capsule as orbit drops

US Air Force tracks spinning space capsule as orbit drops
In this Feb. 5, 2014 photo provided by NASA, an ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station. On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, NASA and the Russian Space Agency declared a total loss on an unmanned Progress capsule, carrying 3 tons of goods to the station. The spacecraft began tumbling when it reached orbit Tuesday, following launch from Kazakhstan, and flight controllers were unable to bring it under control. (NASA via AP)

The U.S. Air Force is keeping close tabs on Russia's tumbling, out-of-control space capsule as it comes closer to re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

NASA said Thursday that the Progress spacecraft, launched earlier this week with supplies for the International Space Station, is expected to plunge from orbit between May 9 and 11.

The capsule—and the upper stage rocket used to boost it into orbit—are circling the world about 125 miles (201kilometers) lower than the space station. The Air Force says 44 pieces of debris also are orbiting in the same vicinity. An explosion or collision involving the capsule or rocket could have resulted in the multiple pieces of junk.

Six astronauts live at the . Their next shipment should arrive in June.


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Citation: US Air Force tracks spinning space capsule as orbit drops (2015, April 30) retrieved 17 February 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2015-04-air-tracks-space-capsule-orbit.html
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