Space: Cosmos 1402 Is Out of Control

Soviet spy satellite threatens to leave a trail of radioactive debris

While the rest of the world anxiously watched and waited, the Soviets struggled last week to keep one of their spy satellites from plunging prematurely and dangerously back to earth. The high drama was reminiscent of NASA's unsuccessful attempt to control the fall of Skylab four years ago, when fragments of the unmanned U.S. space station harmlessly hit the Australian outback. But the problem with the Soviet satellite had a particularly frightening element. Aboard the faltering Red star was some lethal cargo: a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!