Astronauts stuck in space after Russian spacecraft went out of control

Russia is re-adjusting its schedule to wait for the results of the enquiry into what went wrong with M-27M, the ship that went out of control on its way to the International Space Station

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The Independent Tech

International Space Station astronauts have been left waiting in space as their return to Earth has been delayed by an investigation into a stray Russian rocket that got lost in space.

Three of the astronauts currently on board the station were set to return to Earth this week. But Nasa said that it and its international partners had adjusted the schedule “after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency's (Roscosmos) preliminary findings on the recent loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft”.

It’s not clear what those findings were. Roscosmos will provide a further update about the investigation next week.

The Progress 59 ship suffered problems and lost contact on its way to dock with the International Space Station, to which it was carrying supplies. The Russian space agency could not re-gain contact with the ship and it eventually hurtled back to Earth and was burnt up in the atmosphere.

Nasa has not yet established when the astronauts will come back down, and plans to announce “in the coming weeks”.

The astronauts have enough supplies to last until autumn, Nasa said. It will be receiving another Russian cargo craft — Progress 60, after 59 was lost — in early July.

Nasa Astronauts tweeted to say that they were happy they would be spending more time on the station.

Other deliveries to the ISS have been rescheduled and delayed. “Additional 2015 space station-related launch dates also are under review,” Nasa said in a statement.