Will Oregon, Portland or the Coast See Crashing Russian Rocket?
(Portland, Oregon) – Russian officials have officially given up on regaining control of the Progress 59 supply rocket that failed to dock at the International Space Station earlier this week. NASA said ground controllers have been trying to re-initialize controls of the vehicle since it missed its target and drifted away from the ISS, but they now believe this is not possible. (Photo above courtesy NASA: Progress 59 as it was last seen by the ISS).
As a result, NASA and Russian controllers now expect the object to reenter the Earth's atmosphere sometimes in the next two weeks.
Will Progress 59's plunge or path be visible from Oregon and its coastline?
Jim Todd, space education manager with Portland's OMSI, didn't think it was likely. But it's not impossible, either.
OMSI has been getting loads of questions on the subject.
“It will not be visible to the naked eye until May 14th, if it last until then,” Todd said. “Technically, it passes at least four times daily over the Pacific Northwest, all during daylight hours when it is not visible.”
NASA said work is now in the hands of Russian ballistics specialists and flight controllers in Mission Control Houston and ESA, who are all tracking the vehicle's path and will provide updates on its anticipated reentry date – and where pieces may hit.
So far, experts believe most of it will burn up on reentry, but what chunks are left and where they may land is posing some concern.
“The United States Air Force Joint Functional Component Command for Space’s Joint Space Operations Center is also tracking Progress, performing conjunction analysis, and providing warning of any potential collisions in space to ensure spaceflight safety,” NASA said. “The break up and reenty of the Progress poses no threat to the ISS crew.”
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