Photo: A gecko habitat designed for mating, before launch on Russia's Foton spacecraft. [Roscosmos via SpaceFlightNow]
From SpaceFlightNow: "A Russian ground team has made contact with a gecko-carrying scientific research satellite, restoring communications with the spacecraft after officials were unable to control it for a week, the Russian space agency announced Saturday."
As of Saturday, orbit data supplied by U.S. Air Force surveillance radars showed the Foton spacecraft still had not raised its orbit, which has a low point about 250 kilometers (155 miles) above Earth.
Without maneuvering to raise its altitude, it is not clear how long the Foton M4 capsule can remain in an orbit where drag from the Earth's upper atmosphere is strong enough to make objects fall back to the planet and burn up.
The landing module, based on the Vostok capsule flown by Yuri Gagarin on the first human spaceflight in 1961, is fitted with a heat shield and is designed to survive re-entry.
The pressurized section of the Russian-made spacecraft contains the gecko habitat to supply the animals with food and air to breathe.
Scientists wanted to monitor the sexual behavior and embryonic development of the five adult geckos, according to Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos. Scientists expected to have a continuous video recording of the gecko habitat aboard the spacecraft.
Previously: "Doomed Russian lizard sex rocket full of bonking geckos produces week's best headlines"
A Madagascar day gecko sits on a perch. Image: Reuters
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