An unmanned Russian spacecraft carrying supplies to the International Space Station is hurtling out of control back toward the Earth.
The spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan on Tuesday, bound for the station with three tonnes of food, fuel and other supplies, but quickly became rogue.
The cargo was supposed to dock at the station six hours later, but Russian flight controllers soon lost contact with the spacecraft and have spent the past several days trying to regain control of it.
The spacecraft has now been deemed “doomed” and is flying through the atmosphere at 16,000 miles per hour.
The Joint Space Operations Centre said the craft was spinning at a rate of 360 degrees every five seconds.
Video footage from onboard the craft shows it hurtling through space at a nauseating rate, with the Earth moving in and out of frame.
At a press conference, Russian space agency chief Igor Komarov confirmed the supply mission had been abandoned and said officials were focused on how to scuttle the craft.
Deputy chief Alexander Ivanov said the craft would burn up as it re-entered the atmosphere and posed no harm to Earth, but could not say exactly when that would happen.
The Russian spacecraft is expected to orbit the Earth for up to another five days.
International Space Station Russian flight director Vladimir Solovyev said the cargo’s current trajectory indicated none of its structural elements would reach Earth.
Any surviving debris is expected to reach Earth between May 5 and 7, somewhere near the Pacific, Mr Solovyev said.
On Twitter, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield weighed-in on the spacecraft drama and told his one million followers the craft would likely slowly fall and burn up.
NASA said the re-supply mission wasn’t carrying critical supplies, and said space crew were “supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight” of June 19.
The cost of the doomed flight worth AUD $48 million will be recovered by insurance.
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) April 29, 2015
— NASA (@NASA) April 29, 2015
Tumbling to Earth – Mission Control Moscow has had no luck contacting the Progress. It’ll now slowly fall & burn up. pic.twitter.com/lbkJZq36bM
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) April 29, 2015
It’s too soon to be able to predict where it will enter the atmosphere, but Roscosmos and NASA/NORAD will be tracking it closely. — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) April 29, 2015