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Russia’s defunct Progress space freighter may be deorbited on Friday morning — scientists

May 07, 2015, 10:41 UTC+3
On April 28 Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft entered an unexpected orbit and communication with it was lost
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MOSCOW, May 7. /TASS/. Russian space freighter Progress M-27M may be deorbited on Friday morning at around 10:00 a.m. Moscow time, experts of the Russia’s Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have said.

According to calculations of Professor Andrei Nazarenko, the cargo spacecraft is scheduled to fall between 2.00 a.m. GMT and noon GMT on May 8. "The average time of fall is 0700GMT on May 8 (10.00 a.m. Moscow time)," the calculations published on the institute’s website say.

The professor notes that the spacecraft may be deorbited earlier due to unstable space weather.

"Under preliminary estimations, a severe geomagnetic storm occurred on May 6. That’s why a slowdown of the spacecraft in the atmosphere and the approach of the moment of its fall should be expected," an explanatory note to the calculations says.

The Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft was launched on April 28 from the Baikonur space center, in Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz carrier rocket. The spacecraft entered an unexpected orbit and communication with it was lost. After several unsuccessful attempts to put it under control, specialists agreed that docking it to the International Space Station (ISS) would be impossible.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday that the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft will cease to exist on May 8, 2015 at around between 01:23 a.m. and 9.55 p.m. Moscow time [between 22.23 GMT on May 7 and 18.55 GMT]. Part of its debris may reach the Earth, the agency said.

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