Russian spaceship is spinning out of control in orbit, with all contact cut off

As astronaut Chris Hadfield put it on Twitter, This is a “Bad thing to see out the spaceship window.” There will be a ground control attempt soon.

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From Space.com's report:

The Russian space agency Roscosmos is scrambling to regain control of a robotic Progress 59 cargo ship that appears to have suffered a serious malfunction shortly after launching into orbit early today (April 28).

Video from the Progress 59 spacecraft showed it in a dizzying spin, with the Earth and sun rapidly coming into and then out of frame. Russian flight controllers abandoned plans to attempt to dock the cargo ship with the International Space Station on Thursday (April 30), NASA spokesman Rob Navias said in a NASA TV update. That docking — originally scheduled for this morning, then pushed to Thursday — is now "indefinitely postponed," Navias said.

An unpiloted ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station in February 2014. A similar space cargo ship that blasted off today is spinning and Mission Control is have trouble getting data from it. (NASA)


An unpiloted ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station in February 2014. A similar space cargo ship that blasted off today is spinning and Mission Control is have trouble getting data from it. (NASA)

"Almost immediately after spacecraft separation, a series of telemetry problems were detected with the Progress 59," said Navias said during the NASA TV transmission, from NASA's Mission Control center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "No confirmation of navigational antenna deploy or of the pressurization of the manifold system for the propulsion system on the spacecraft was received."

Russian flight controllers are still attempting to communicate with the spacecraft. So far: radio silence.

No rendezvous with the ISS is currently planned, until contact is re-established and the situation becomes stable.

Below, a tweet from the official Roscosmos Twitter account, in happier hours.

A Soyuz rocket launches the unmanned Progress 59 cargo ship from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on April 28, 2015 on a mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Progress 59 reached orbit, but then malfunctioned. Photo: Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)


A Soyuz rocket launches the unmanned Progress 59 cargo ship from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on April 28, 2015 on a mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Progress 59 reached orbit, but then malfunctioned.
Photo: Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)

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