SpaceX has had their number of mishaps when it comes to failed launch attempts in getting supplies to the International Space Station, but Russia’s equipment been notoriously reliable over the years, which is why their Soyuz spacecraft is repeatedly used to get astronauts to and from the orbiting space lab.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
On the other hand, Russia just had their own face palm moment this week as a thankfully unscrewed Progress spacecraft failed to deliver its goods to the International Space Station some six minutes after what looked like a good launch.
According to the reports, once the six-minute mark was reached, mission control reportedly lost communication with the Progress spacecraft, suggesting that it may have failed. As a bonus, it wasn’t showing up on radar scans in the area where it was supposed to end up, so it must’ve rained right back down.
And that it did…
"Basically, what we saw was indications of the third stage separation occurring a few minutes early, and we haven't had any communications with the Progress at all," mission controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston told NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, the current ISS commander, as the situation was unfolding.
Most of the spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere during reentry, but some fragments have reportedly been discovered on the ground in Tuva, Russia.
The ship was carrying 2.5 tons of supplies, including food and science experiments, in its cargo space. Although it was lost, Roscosmos says that it won’t affect the normal operations of the International Space Station.
The astronauts there still have plenty of food and experiments to use for the time being because NASA Roscosmos each think ahead and keep bulk supplies on the International Space Station just in case of mishaps like this one, another resupply mission will need to be attempted at a later date just to ensure the astronauts have everything they need.
The soonest a resupply attempt can be performed again may be on December 9th.
Source: Scientific American