“Ground control commands do not reach Russian satellite Foton,” reports Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
"Satellite Foton-M4 was launched on July 19, 2014 with five Gecko lizards, Drosophilae flies, plant seeds and microbes onboard was scheduled to land in southern Ural’s Orenburg region in two months. Twenty-two sets of research equipment developed by leading Russian research organisations were mounted on the satellite. Several experiments and research are planned on board the satellite."
What the Russian state news agency doesn’t say there is that the geckos were up there to mate. And mating means fucking. And tiny space lizards fucking means an opportunity for headline writers to write publishable jokes about sex. In their headlines. On the internet. Let’s review.
"Russians lose control of lizard sex satellite," reports a Tulsa, Oklahoma paper.
Al Jazeera: “Lust in space: Russians lose control of gecko sex satellite”
The Independent: “Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space”
The Wire went with a relatively demure, “Russia Lost Contact With Its Satellite of Copulating Geckos.”
"Russian ‘space sex geckos’ struggle for survival as their satellite spirals out of control in Earth orbit," blurts the Daily Mail, which I won’t link to.
Total buzzkill The Guardian, not once mentioning all the on-board bonking: “Russia loses contact with satellite full of geckos.”
“Officials unable to contact animal-carrying spaceship,” says the ever-sober SpaceFlightNow.