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Satnews Daily
August 4th, 2014

Russia—Reprise of "Lost In Space" For Foton-M (Satellite)

Artistic rendition of Russia's
Foton-M satellite.

[SatNews] Russia’s Federal Space Agency has decided to leave its scientific satellite Foton-M on orbit for two month as planned and not to remove it ahead of time, despite the concerns the satellite caused after becoming lost in space.

“The satellite is operating normally now, so it will remain on the orbit for two-month period as initially planned,” head of space agency Oleg Ostapenko told ITAR-TASS on Friday. The fourth scientific satellite Foton-M with lizards, fruit flies, plant seeds and microorganisms aboard was launched on July 19, 2014, and lost connection with the Earth a few hours after the launch—Russian space experts were unable to control the craft and seven days were required to to regain connection.

A number of experiments were scheduled onboard the satellite requiring 22 sets of research equipment to be mounted on Foton-M. The experiments should reveal how to sustain human life in a long space trip. “Without such experiments, we are unaware of how to provide oxygen and food for such a long space trip,” the head of Russia’s Federal Medical Biological Agency, Vladimir Uyba, said, stressing that in the future, cosmonauts will be sent to Mars and even further into space.