Apr 30, 3:06 PM EDT

US Air Force tracks spinning space capsule as orbit drops


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US Air Force tracks spinning space capsule as orbit drops

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- The U.S. Air Force is keeping close tabs on Russia's tumbling, out-of-control space capsule as it comes closer to re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

NASA said Thursday that the Progress spacecraft, launched earlier this week with supplies for the International Space Station, is expected to plunge from orbit between May 9 and 11.

The capsule - and the upper stage rocket used to boost it into orbit - are circling the world about 125 miles (201kilometers) lower than the space station. The Air Force says 44 pieces of debris also are orbiting in the same vicinity. An explosion or collision involving the capsule or rocket could have resulted in the multiple pieces of junk.

Six astronauts live at the space station. Their next shipment should arrive in June.

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