Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Failed Russian Progress Resupply Ship Burns Up In Atmosphere

The Russian Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft which failed to dock with the International Space Station last month has re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at 02:20 UTC over the Pacific Ocean.
Having launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 28 and loaded with over three tonnes of fuel, food and cargo for the orbiting complex, Russian Mission Control declared that they were experiencing propulsion, telemetry and communications issues with the spacecraft shortly after it separated from the Soyuz rocket.
File photo of a Progress Resupply Ship
credit: NASA TV

Video cameras installed on the vehicle showed that it had entered into an uncontrolled spin of roughly one rotation every four to five seconds. All attempts by Russian ground controllers to regain control of the vehicle were unsuccessful, and the decision was made to cancel the planned docking to the station on Wednesday April 29 when it ecame apparent that rendezvous and docking would not be possible.

The crew aboard the station in the meantime are doing well and have sufficient supplies on board to last for over four months. Expedition 43 Flight Engineer and ISS One Year Crew member Scott Kelly of NASA spoke with the Associated Press recently about the problems with the Progress,
"The important thing is that hardware can be replaced.. and we'll continue to operate the space station."

The next cargo ship on the manifest to visit the station will be a SpaceX Dragon resupply ship. This will be the company's seventh resupply mission to the station, scheduled to launch from Florida on June 19.

In the meantime, the Russian Federal Space Agency(Roscosmos) will be investigating the incident in order to find athe root cause of the anomaly. The Progress M-27M was the 150th Russian space freighter launched into space, and is only the second one to have suffered a casatrophic/major malfunction during its mission to resupply the ISS. In August 2011 a system error with the Soyuz rocket prevented the vehicle from reaching orbit.

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