Several Russian state media sources are reporting that the Russian space agency Roscosmos is going to abort the mission of the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft and just let the craft run out of fuel and fall back to Earth. Analysts point out this is yet another embarrassing failure for Russia’s space program, and it comes at a particularly poor time given the nation’s current economic and political problems.
More on the failure of the recent Russian Progress spacecraft mission
Although Russia’s aerospace industry has had its share of problems over the last few years, notably the failure of the Phobos-Grunt mission to a Mars moons in 2012, the country’s space agency has been reliably providing flights between the space station and Earth for some time. The current glitched Russian Progress spacecraft mission was expected to be routine.
As reported by Valuewalk on Tuesday, the Russian cargo ship was launched aboard a rocket early Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and issues cropped up almost immediately. Communications with the cargo ship broke off and it soon started to spin, according to footage from a video camera on the ship.
The original schedule called for the Russian Progress spacecraft to dock with the ISS six hours later, but the docking was delayed as flight controllers and engineers tried to regain control of the craft.
“We are all worried about the fate of our supply ship,” Dmitry Rogozin, a Russian deputy prime minister in charge of defense and space industries, noted on Twitter.
A Roscosmos media representative commented that officials had held meeting about the Progress spacecraft and that an official statement would be relaesed later in the day. In answering a question about the ship being destroyed as it hit the atmosphere, she replied: “For now those are just rumors.”
Of note, the cargo capsule is loaded with three tons of fuel and food and other supplies for the space station. Experts highlight that the ISS has plenty of food and fuel in reserve until the next supply ship arrives.