Russia's Progress M-27M spacecraft, carrying supplies bound for the International Space Station, began a plummet to Earth on Wednesday, as officials lost track of the reportedly out-of-control, unmanned ship, Agence France-Presse reported. As the craft continues its descent, Russia is reportedly working to regain contact and control of the Progress and has begun planning the launch of a replacement cargo shipment.
The descending cargo craft was launched early Tuesday, carrying 6,000 pounds of food, fuel and supplies. But navigation and rendezvous systems quickly lost track of the craft. The flight plan was extended to allow for an attempt to fix the glitch and regain control of the ship, but the plan reportedly failed.
"Several attempts to establish stable communication with it and put it under control have failed," a source said, as Russian news agency Tass reported. "A total of six attempts to contact the spacecraft will be made today."
A source at Kazakhstan's Baikonur launch site reportedly told Tass that there are plans for another cargo launch to be moved to an earlier date to deliver supplies to the crew of the space station, who reportedly are in no immediate danger. "The crew has enough food and water, but in any case the reserves must be replenished," a source said, as Tass reported.
The Progress reportedly poses no immediate threat of crash-landing on Earth. Cargo craft are designed to disintegrate upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, the Guardian reported. Very little of the Progress -- or nothing at all -- would remain intact should the craft penetrate the atmosphere. Any small pieces that survive re-entry would likely end up in an ocean or in one "Earth's great wastelands," the Guardian reported.