Cargo Ship Bound for Space Station May Be Out of Control



At the end of a previous resupply flight, a robotic arm reaches out to capture the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft and prepare it to be pulled into its port on the International Space Station, April 17, 2015.

An unmanned Russian supply ship carrying more than 3 tons of fuel, water, food and supplies to the International Space Station was spinning Tuesday after taking off in Kazakhstan and was possibly out of control.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration said flight controllers lost contact with the Progress 59 freighter shortly after it separated from the Soyuz booster rocket. They were unable to confirm whether the steering antennas had been deployed.

Russian flight controllers were to try again at 8:50 p.m. EDT (0050 GMT Wednesday) to contact the ship. If it cannot be maneuvered, at some point it will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. If that happens, it would be the second station cargo ship lost in the past six months.

NASA said the space station crew was in no danger and had enough food for four months, plus a year’s worth of fuel. Several other cargo vehicles are due to launch over the next several months, it said.

The station, a $100 billion project of 15 nations, is a laboratory as big as a five-bedroom house that hosts a wide array of science experiments and technology research.