TECH

Russian Sex Gecko Satellite 'Back Under Control'

28/07/2014 10:41 BST | Updated 28/07/2014 10:59 BST

An out-of-control Russian satellite filled with sex lizards has been successfully recovered, it has emerged.

The Foton-M4 satellite was launched on July 19 containing five geckos, along with various insects and plants.

The plan was to observe the four male and one female gecko's mating patterns in zero-gravity, and see how they were affected by the flight.

But due to problems with the satellite's control systems, Russia announced on Friday that the satellite was effectively out of control.

Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems said that the satellite was stuck at a height of 155 miles, instead of 357 miles as had been intended, and could prove unrecoverable.

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Above: the July 19 launch of the Foton-M4

If the issue had not been solved the geckos would have been left to orbit Earth for four months before starving to death, rather than returning to Earth via parachute after 60 days for study (and - hopefully - a glass of brandy and a celebratory cigar).

But not there is good news -- Russia says the satellite is working again.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said that a simple software glitch had caused the issue and that the satellite was now operating normally.

“We have conducted several communication sessions, and the link is stable,” said Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko.

“We are sure that we will be able to conduct 90 percent of what we initially planned.”

The geckos are said to be thrilled, but preoccupied.