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The Fotina capsule with "space mail" jettisoned from the Russian satellite Foton landed off target on Tuesday
The Fotina capsule with "space mail" jettisoned from the Russian satellite Foton landed off target on Tuesday, head of the mission for the Foton-M3 orbiting laboratory Nikolai Sokolov told Itar-Tass. "The rate of cable uncoiling was not 12 meters per second as had been planned, but merely 5 meters per second, so the 30-kilometer cable only unwound 8.5 kilometers, and the point of landing of the capsule changed," Sokolov said. At present, specialists are calculating the landing site. The scheduled site is located in the outskirts of the Kazakh town of Derzhavinsk. "All the commands were issued at the preset time," he said. "Although everything went off not as smooth as one would like, it was a record anyway - last time, the cable unwound just four kilometers in a similar experiment, compared with 8.5 kilometers now," the aerospace official noted. He said the “capsule Fortina within the framework of the YES-2 experiment, jettisoned from a Foton satellite at 08:47, Moscow time, and began descent on a special 30-kilometer tether”. The inflatable capsule with payloads was headed for the Earth on a superlight polyethylene fibre line called dynima. This material is light, but strong. The five-kilogram line, which is only half millimeter in diameter, can hold weights of hundreds of kilograms. The uncoiling operation ended at approximately 11:20,Moscow time, and the 5.5-kilogramm capsule separated from the cable and began parachute descent. As the satellite was outside the tracking zone of the Russian Mission Control Center, specialists obtained telemetry returns only at the revolution immediately preceding the landing of the capsule. Supposedly, it landed at 12:00, Moscow time. A transmitter of the KOSAS-SARSAT satellite system will enable specialists to determine the precise landing location, the Mission Control Center said. The main purpose of the YES-2 experiment is to demonstrate a technology of quick return of small payloads by means of a cable system, the so-called "space mail" technology, officials at the European Space Agency explained to Itar-Tass. The agency allocated 450,000 euros for the experiment in which specialists and students from Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Germany and Russia participated.
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