Two failures in less than 10 days? Pretty ironic this would happen almost immediately after America’s Shuttle program comes to an end, forcing us to depend almost solely on Russian spacecraft to resupply ISS. As it now stands, I don’t believe we will have the domestic capability to launch supplies, let alone human beings, for at least a couple of years and, if NASA doesn’t pull the trigger on a new heavy lift configuration for the nation, it will be even longer. This may just be a speed bump but, as I said, it’s rather ironic given Russia’s long history of success.
Russia: Cargo rocket crashes in Siberia
A rocket blasts off from the Russian leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 18.
(CNN) — A Russian space freighter carrying cargo to the International Space Station has crashed in a remote area of Siberia, Russian emergency officials said Wednesday.
The unmanned Progress cargo craft, which launched at 7 p.m. in Kazakhstan (9 a.m. ET) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, was due to dock with the ISS on Friday.
“The situation with the loss of the Progress is not good, of course, but there are stocks of necessities aboard the ISS to support the cosmonauts that will be sufficient to last out until the arrival of the next Progress” cargo ship, Russia’s Space Mission Control executive Vladimir Solovyov told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
Space experts said Wednesday’s crash was the first failure of a Progress cargo unit in more than 30 years of operation.
However, it is the second failed space launch in Russia in less than 10 days.
On August 18, Russia lost a sophisticated Express-AM4 telecommunications satellite when the launch vehicle put it into the wrong orbit.
He said the six people currently living on the ISS are “well supplied — actually oversupplied” since the delivery of goods by the final U.S. shuttle mission, carried out by Atlantis last month.
NASA is now reliant on the Russian space agency to ferry U.S. astronauts to orbit, since the grounding of the U.S. shuttle fleet has left the United States with no way to lift humans into space.
Plans are in the works for private companies to begin shipping cargo to the station, and eventually to carry astronauts as well.