Look out above! Progress M-27M is coming down (with updates all day)

6:45 AM CDT, May 8: Overnight, USSTRATCOM confirmed the reentry of Progress M-27M and gave a more precise reentry position.  It survived in orbit a little bit longer than Roscosmos had predicted, ultimately coming down about 350 km west of Chile, near the tip of South America.  This leaves a fair chance of some debris reaching land, though South America is quite narrow at that point.

22:10 CDT: About half an hour ago, Roscosmos announced that Progress M-27M deorbited over the Pacific Ocean at 2:04 UTC.  Still awaiting independent confirmation, such as from USSTRATCOM.  If their estimate is correct, it will have impacted in one of the most desolate stretches of the vast southern Pacific ocean.

21:10 CDT: Reentry prediction times have slid out and there is not yet any confirmation of its demise or survival.  The latest data suggested a decline in the rate of descent, but that may be in error given that measurements are less accurate for low orbit objects.

20:30 CDT: We’re now well into the window in which Progress is expected to fall.  No report yet of its demise, but it could come anytime.  If it is still up, it should be passing over Afghanistan right now.

17:25 CDT: If you live in Southeast Asia and are up early, you can try and spot Progress, which will likely be flickering as it tumbles.  It should be reasonably bright since it’s getting pretty low now, but you will not easily see it from a major city if there is a lot of light pollution.  Check the tracker at spaceflight101 to see where Progress is right now (estimated; be advised that at this point it will become increasingly difficult to accurately estimate its position as the orbit is changing constantly).

14:24 CDT: NASASpaceFlight reports that Roscosmos is evaluating changes to the ISS flight schedule in light of the Progress M-27M mishap.  Soyuz TMA-15M’s landing is now delayed until June 11 or 12, which will allow them to delay Soyuz TMA-17M until mid-July.  This will allow them to advance Progress M-28M’s schedule to early July.

13:30 CDT: Aerospace.org is now predicting reentry near the coast of Namibia at 01:08 UTC May 8, so it’s falling a little faster than original predicted.  The ground track for that orbit shows it heading across south and central Africa, then up across Egypt and the Mideast, crossing the Caspian Sea, and then going across central Asia before going out to sea over Japan.

9:50 AM CDT: Aerospace.org is predicting reentry over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil; impact would be downrange from there, possibly in Africa.  That assumes it deorbits on exactly the orbit aerospace.org is predicting, which it might not.  But it’s enough to make me question Spaceflight101’s prediction that it cannot hit Europe; going off Aerospace.org’s map, if it survived for one more orbit, a European impact is remotely possible.

2015-024A_127

9:05 AM CDT: USSTRATCOM is now predicting reentry at 1:36 UTC on May 8, +/- 2 hours, which would be 8:36PM tonight, Central Daylight Time.  They have ruled out it falling on North America, Europe, or Australia.  ESA is also tracking the vehicle and reports the current rotation rate as one rotation every 1.8 seconds.  (Blarg!)  The spacecraft will be sinking fairly rapidly all day; I will update when a new prediction comes in.

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