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Lost in Space: Russia Loses Contact With Satellite Carrying Geckos

Russia’s space agency says it is feverishly trying to re-establish communication with a satellite carrying geckos, fruit flies and other organisms for scientific research. The Foton-M satellite was launched atop a Soyuz rocket last Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, for what was supposed to be a 60-day mission involving biological experiments in space. Russia’s Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos, said Thursday that the satellite was not responding to mission-control commands. “We currently receive telemetric data from Foton. However, we cannot transmit commands from the Earth to the satellite so far, that is, we have only one-way connection. Experts are now trying to restore the communication,” a mission-control official was quoted as saying by ITAR-Tass, the official Russian news agency.

The satellite was carrying an array of items and equipment for diverse experiments. Among them were “containers with living organisms, including five geckos, fruit flies and fungi, which are supposed to be jettisoned after two months in orbit and land in Russia,” RT.com reported.

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