Russia's Progress spacecraft is about to hit the Earth, but no one knows where

ISS Progress 47 in the position Progress 59 should have been last week. Picture: NASA

Russia’s Progress 59P cargo vessel is about to crash to Earth, if it already hasn’t.

Space agency Roscosmos expected it to fall sometime between 8.50am and 11.50am AEST, with reports saying up to 40% of the uncrewed vessel will survive re-entry.

Here’s the official word right now. Note the pic from Roscosmos is of the re-entry of the Progress M-10M spacecraft in 2011, presumably as an indication of what to expect from Progress 59P, also known as M-27M:

(Google translation: “The revised forecast TGC ‘Progress M-27M’: a ship cease to exist on May 8 to approximately 1:13 to 4:51 MSK”)

What they can’t say, however, is where it will land. The best bet is “scattered over Africa or China”, according to the Guardian.

Of the 7.3 tonnes of metal and cargo that makes up Progress, around a tonne is expected to hit the Earth. Some 200kg of it will come in the form of a metal ring the size of a large tractor wheel, which forms the mechanism that was supposed to help Progress dock with the ISS.

Roscosmos lost control of Progress on April 28. It began spinning slowly before it was due to deliver a 2700kg payload to astronauts aboard the ISS.

According to the European Space Agency, it’s now “experiencing a very fast rotation rate of around one revolution every 1.8 seconds”.

Here’s the view last week from its onboard camera.

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