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25 Sep, 2007 11:54

`Space mail` undelivered

Controllers of the Foton-M3 spacecraft have reported that a capsule sent back to Earth earlier on Tuesday has not landed at the designated time. The vessel contains the results of several experiments conducted in space.

The capsule was set to return from space on Tuesday carrying the results of many experiments.

The vessel is called YES-2 or the Young Engineers' Satellite, stressing that it was developed by students of several European universities, including a Russian group from Samara.

It is a new form of technology nicknamed “space mail”, designed to send back to earth the immediate results of space experiments and small cargoes.

Instead of being fired down as was previously the case, “space mail” involves the capsule being lowered on a 30-kilometre line. However, it failed to return to the designated area because of problems during the unreeling of the cable.

The mission's management says YES-2 is now orbiting and it will take some time to discover its position.

Last year a competition was announced in which any school could devise any experiment to be conducted in weightless conditions

“It’s so interesting how butterflies will grow inside a cocoon. How their sense of space will develop. What kind of wings there will grow, or if they’ll have any wings at all?” said Oleg, a member of the team that submitted the winning project.   

The butterfly cocoons, along with lizards, snails, primitive organisms and seeds of different plants, are aboard another capsule that will be sent back from space on Wednesday after two weeks of experiments.