Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lost in Space

Lost in Space: Battle to Save Cargo Supply Spacecraft

What was supposed to be a six-hour journey to the International Space Station to deliver supplies has turned into a high stakes space drama. 

One day after the Progress spacecraft was launched on the back of a Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station, the cargo vessel remains in an uncontrolled spin orbiting Earth after several navigational antennas on the spacecraft failed to deploy and problems were reported with the propulsion system, according to NASA. 


The Russian Soyuz 2-1A rocket lofted the latest Progress resupply vehicle for what was supposed to be a fast rendezvous trip to the International Space Station (ISS). The Progress – riding on a Soyuz 2-1A for the first time was launched on Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. However, numerous problems have resulted in what is now a lost vehicle, as it was seen spinning wildly on orbit. 
This photo courtesy of Marinduque history blogger, Curt Shepard

On board the Progress is 6,000 pounds of food, fuel and supplies for the six astronauts at the International Space Station. 

The spacecraft has made several passes over Russian ground control stations, however officials on the ground reported attempts to issue commands to Progress and troubleshoot its issues have continued to be unsuccessful. 

NASA's supply chain to the space station has been a problem since the space shuttle quit flying, and has been a patchwork of SpaceX, ESA ATV, Japanese HTV and Orbital Cygnus that has been bolstered by the annual four shipments a year on the Progress cargo ship. 

If they lose the cargo on this trip, the next supply run to space will be in June when SpaceX's Dragon, which is currently berthed at the International Space Station, makes another supply run to space. ABC News

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