Launch of unmanned Russian supply ship fails
An unmanned Russian supply spaceship bound for the International Space Station has failed to reach its planned orbit, prompting concerns over its impact on the activities in space.
Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, says the spacecraft Progress was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10 pm local time on Wednesday. It was carrying more than 2.6 ton load of food, water and equipment for the Space Station.
But the agency says 5 minutes 25 seconds after liftoff, the spacecraft strayed from orbit because of a problem in its third engine. Some of its debris is believed to have crashed in eastern Siberia.
It is not thought that the failure will have any immediate impact on the activities of the 6 astronauts currently on board the space station since they still have enough supplies for more than 2 months.
But there is concern over the longer-term impact on space activities since the Russian spacecraft is the only means of transportation to and from the space station after the US space shuttle was decommissioned last month.
A change of crewmembers is scheduled for September and the planned return of the Japanese astronaut in November could be affected if there is a prolonged investigation into the cause of the accident.
Thursday, August 25, 2011 07:17 +0900 (JST)