Regrettably, The Russian cargo capsule Progress that was supposed to restock the International Space Station has malfunctioned. But aside from financial losses, this misfortune poses no threat to anybody. The International Space Station astronauts are safe without supplies for now.
Furthermore, the Russian ship was without passengers, so no lives will be lost as consequence to the ship crashing. And since the cargo ship will be burnt in the Earth’s atmosphere before it ever gets even remotely close to land,it will not put any part of the Earth in danger. It is expected to be fully destroyed sometime around May 5th and May 7th.
Progress was launched from the Kazakhstani Space Center Baikonur on April 28th and it was meant to restock the International Space Station with 3 tons of food, water and fuel.
The capsule has malfunctioned because two of its five antennas did not unfold, thus making it impossible to control. Moreover, 44 bits of debris that have been observed around the capsule would suggest that an explosion might have occurred, that worsened the situation.
Thankfully, such situations are foreseeable and the ISS was fully prepared for such an event and it still has enough resources to last it for another six months. This provides for enough time so that another capsule be sent in Progress’ place.
“We have analyzed everything that there is on board, and I can say that we have enough stock of everything – the oxygen, fuel, water,” said First Deputy General Designer Vladimir Soloviev, thus reassuring those concerned about the astronauts’ well being.
It is known that the ISS is provided with a system that utilizes the water in urine, sweat and exhaled vapor in order to create clean drinking water. The system is enough to provide water for a long time, because the amount of water that is lost in the process is negligible.
The next cargo ship is expected to reach the ISS in June, but even if this next ship encounters problems as well, the astronauts will still be safe. The amount of supplies that they have on board at the moment is enough to last them for another four months. In the meantime, another ship is scheduled to stock the Space Station in mid-August.
Everybody is relieved to know that this misfortune will end victimless and with bearable consequences. The International Space Station astronauts are safe without supplies for now and help is on its way soon. As for the cargo ship Progress, it is expected to be burnt entirely in the Earth’s atmosphere, and so, it pose no threat because it will never reach the planet’s surface.
Image Source: smh.com.au