Russian “gecko sex” satellite is lost in space


Even though Russia’s Progress space firm communicated that they are in contact with the satellite “and in particular, the experiment with the geckos is working according to the program,” there is a big problem because ground controllers cannot start the satellite’s on-board engine. The vessel was not responding to commands. That means that at least for the instant the orbit of the satellite can’t be controlled. It can run on autopilot for up to another two months. Video footage continues to beam down to Earth. But the satellite is currently trapped in an orbit that will eventually drag it back to Earth. Progress is working to re-establish a connection with the operating system but there is no warranty for this to be a success. Other experiments, including one intending to grow pure crystals to be used in advanced semi-conductors, are also running on the vessel.


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