Soyuz Rocket Fails – Progress Cargo Misses the ISS

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A Progress cargo spacecraft (Source: NASA).

According to Roscosmos, the Progress 44 Cargo spacecraft, launched on Wednesday August 24 from the Baikonour cosmodrome on top of a Soyuz rocket, failed to reach its planned orbit.

The statement reports that the third stage of the rocket had failed 325 seconds into the launch. The Progress cargo spacecraft, which can carry up to 2.9 tonnes of oxygen, food, fuel, water and scientific experiments, is the main source of supply for the ISS. The spacecraft’s engine is also used to reboost the Space Station. This is the first failure of a Progress since 1978.

The Progress spacecraft is powered by the same rocket used to ferry the manned Soyuz vehicle. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the Soyuz rocket provides the only access to space for astronauts and cosmonauts. According to the Los Angels Times, NASA does not have a formal contingency plan in case the Soyuz would be grounded.

This is the second launch failure for Russia in August: the Express-AM4 communication satellite launched on top of a Proton rocket, failed in fact to reach the correct orbit on August 17, just a week ago.

Launch of TMA-3 on top of a Soyuz rocket (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls).

 

 

 

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About the author

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

  • Leopold

    concerning “The Progress spacecraft is powered by the same rocket used to ferry the manned Soyuz vehicle.” – while this is true at first view, there are quite some differences in the different soyuz versions …

    • Mike

      Yes, while there are quite some differences in the different soyuz versions, there are also quite a number of similarities which raises ones concerns.

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