CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A Russian supply capsule that went into an uncontrollable spin after launch was declared a total loss Wednesday, but the astronauts at the International Space Station said they will get by without the delivery of fresh food, water, clothes and equipment.
The space station's one-year crew members, American Scott Kelly and Russian Mikhail Kornienko, told The Associated Press during an interview that flight controllers have given up trying to command the cargo carrier.
The unmanned Progress vessel, loaded with 3 tons of goods, began tumbling shortly after its launch Tuesday from Kazakhstan.
Kelly said the craft will fall out of orbit and re-enter the atmosphere sometime soon. He's not sure exactly when.
International Space Station
Space station crew: Russia's spinning supply ship total loss
IN SPACE - OCTOBER 7: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this handout photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst takes a photo during his spacewalk, whilst aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on October 7, 2014 in Space. Gerst returned to earth on November 10, 2014 after spending six months on the International Space Station completing an extensive scientific programme, known as the 'Blue Dot' mission (after astronomer Carl Sagan's description of Earth, as seen on a photograph taken by the Voyager probe from six billion kilometres away). (Photo by Alexander Gerst / ESA via Getty Images)
ZHEZKAZGAN, KAZAKHSTAN - MARCH 12: (Alternate crop of #465931716) In this handout provided by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos March 12, 2015 near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Wilmore and Russian cosmonauts Samokutyaev and Serova are returning after nearly six months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 41 and 42 crews. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
STAR CITY, RUSSIA - MARCH 5: In this handout from the In this handout from National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, (L to R) NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly is seen inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) March 5, 2015 in Star City, Russia. The three are preparing for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 28, 2015. As the one-year crew, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016. (Photo by /Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
WALLOPS ISLAND, VA - OCTOBER 28: In this handout provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard suffers a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA Wallops Flight Facility on October 28, 2014 on Wallops Island, Virginia. William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and Michael Suffredini, NASA's International Space Station Program Manager also participated in the press conference via phone. Cygnus was on its way to rendezvous with the space station. The Antares rocket lifted off to start its third resupply mission to the International Space Station, but suffered a catastrophic anomaly shortly after lift off at 6:22 p.m. EDT. (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
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The capsule is expected to burn up in the atmosphere, as is the case for all Progress carriers, once they have delivered their shipments and are filled with trash.
"We should be OK," said Kelly, one month into a planned one-year mission, which will be a record for NASA. "The program plans for these kinds of things to happen. They're very unfortunate when they do."
He added: "The important thing is hardware can be replaced."
Kornienko called it "a big concern." But he expressed "100 percent confidence" that operations will continue as planned until the next shipment arrives. The private SpaceX company plans to send up a load of supplies in June.
This is the second cargo ship lost in the past half year.
In October, Orbital Sciences Corp. suffered a launch explosion in Virginia that destroyed a cargo ship that had been intended for the orbiting lab.
SpaceX is currently NASA's sole supplier. The Japanese Space Agency also periodically sends up cargo; it is aiming for a summer shipment.
Six people are currently living on the space station: two Americans, one Italian and three Russians.