Russian mission control has lost contact with a satellite full of geckos slated to participate in a weightlessness experiment, in the latest setback for the country's space industry.
The Photon-M satellite and its reptile crew will probably be lost and fall from orbit in a few months unless specialists can re-establish communications with it, a source in the space industry told Interfax news agency. The four female and one male gecko on board will die from hunger within two and a half months or earlier if the craft's life-support systems are also disrupted, the source said.
...Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin voiced disapproval of this decision, saying they would go toe-to-toe with US threats and could potentially cut off access to the ISS. He also quipped that the US should deliver its astronauts to the ISS via trampoline. At the time of that announcement, the United States had two astronauts onboard, leaving some to speculate about their fate. Rick Mastracchio returned to Earth just yesterday, but Steven Swanson is still onboard. Gregory Wiseman is currently scheduled to launch to the ISS on May 28 for Expedition 40 and that plan does not appear to have changed.
To the people of Chelyabinsk, we would like to offer our heartfelt sympathy and wish all injured a swift recovery.
"As of late afternoon local time, the Interior Ministry said about 1,000 people had been hurt, though the vast majority of injuries are not thought to be serious.
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