Astronomers have seemingly captured Russia’s lost Progress 59 spacecraft entering the atmosphere over South Africa using the country’s MASTER telescope. On the other hand Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS says that few fragments of the cargo ship may hit Earth, but most of them will burn up in sky this Friday.
MASTER capture footage of Progress 59 at around 17:05 GMT on Tuesday and according to satellite tracking service Satflare, the rogue cargo ship was passing over South Africa. The spacecraft is currently at an altitude of 206 km [as of this writing] and flying over the Pacific Ocean. You can track it here.
For those of you who are not aware, The MASTER (Mobile Astronomical System of Telescope-Robots) network is a worldwide system of telescopes managed by Moscow State University.
Launched on April 28 from the Baikonur Space Station in Kazakhstan, the spacecraft was on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Contents wise, the spacecraft was carrying 1,940 pounds (880 kilos) of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,128 pounds of spare parts, supplies and scientific experiment hardware.
After reaching space the spacecraft went into an uncontrolled spin following which the space agencies decided to cancel the docking with the International Space Station (ISS). Since then the cargo ship is out of control and has begun its descent into the Earth’s atmosphere.
In related news, ROSCOMOS has revealed that some fragments from the spacecraft may hit Earth on Friday, but most of the cargo ship will burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere, as is the case with all Progress carriers once they have delivered their shipments and are filled with trash.