Progress 44 accident and its consequences for Space Station

Sep 01, 2011
An unpiloted ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station, bringing the COLAIS experiment's ERNObox control computer as well 2.6 tons of food, fuel, oxygen, propellant and supplies for the Expedition 23 crew members aboard the station. Progress 37 docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) on May 1, 2010, after a three-day flight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credits: NASA (iss023e030584)

The six astronauts on the International Space Station are safe and continuing their normal work after the loss of their space-bound cargo craft on 24 August.

While the cause of the accident is being sought by a Russian commission, the Station partners are preparing for several scenarios to ensure the safety of the crew and the orbital outpost.

The Progress 44 freighter, carrying 2670 kg of cargo for the Station, failed to reach proper orbit after the premature shutdown of its third-stage engine 325 seconds after from the in Kazakhstan.

The remnants of the stage and Progress fell back to from an of about 200 km over the Altai Republic in southern .

No remnants have been found so far and it is possible that the Progress and its third stage – both loaded with fuel and oxygen – burned up in the atmosphere.
The search crews are still probing the large areas of difficult terrain in severe weather conditions looking for evidence.

Launches of Soyuz rockets have been suspended until the cause of the engine malfunction is identified.

ESA recognizes the vast experience of its Russian partners as well as the excellent safety record of the Soyuz launcher and is confident that the cause of the mishap will be found soon.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Learning his return to Earth #FromSpace from the International Space Station might be delayed for possibly up to two months, NASA astronaut Ron Garan, sings the blues from the Soyuz spacecraft that will take him home.

Station crew is safe
 
The new situation has not put the Station in danger and the safety of the Expedition 28 aboard is not compromised. There are plenty of supplies for the crew and Station to next spring.

The next Progress freighter arrived in Baikonur on Monday and is being prepared for launch, but the date has not been specified because it depends on the commission’s findings.

Progress 44 accident and its consequences for Space Station
Soyuz-U launch sequence. Credits: ESA

Russian planners would like to see two successful unmanned launches of the Soyuz-U rocket before the next manned spacecraft, so the dates of the future missions – including the flight of ESA astronaut André Kuipers – are being assessed.

It has been decided to postpone the landing of Expedition 26 on Soyuz TMA-21 from 8 September to 16 September. The launch of the next Soyuz flight, Soyuz TMA-22, carrying Expedition 29, will be delayed to the end of October or the beginning of November, depending on the results of the commission.

At the same time, the Station partners are preparing for several scenarios of different likelihoods for near-future operations.

This was the first accident for this venerable spacecraft since the first Progress in 1978. So far, the Russian space agency has launched 745 Soyuz-U vehicles, with 724 successes. Progress freighters were carried on 136.
 
Soyuz-U is used not only for taking Progress spacecraft into orbit, but also delivering satellites and dispatching planetary probes.

ESA is preparing to launch its next Automated Transfer Vehicle, Edoardo Amaldi, in March 2012. Together with its Station partners, the Agency is following the Progress mishap investigation closely.

Explore further: First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ISS crew prepares for repositioning

Mar 13, 2007

The Expedition 14 crew aboard the International Space Station was making final preparations Wednesday for a repositioning rocket firing.

New Station Crew Prepares For Launch Tuesday

Apr 07, 2008

The Progress 28 cargo ship undocked from the International Space Station at 4:50 a.m. EDT Monday and headed into its deorbit and destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

First Soyuz launch from Kourou to go ahead: Arianespace

Aug 25, 2011

The maiden flight of a Soyuz from Europe's space base will go ahead as scheduled on October 20, as it is a different version from the rocket involved in Wednesday's launch failure by Russia, Arianespace said on Thursday.

Progress to Launch to Space Station

Jul 31, 2007

A new Progress cargo carrier is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station at 1:34 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 2, with more than 2.5 tons of fuel, air, water and other supplies and equipment aboard. ...

Russia's Soyuz: historic symbol of space reliability

Aug 25, 2011

Russia's Soyuz rocket, which failed to put a Russian supply ship into orbit, is descended from launch vehicles of the early days of the space race but until now has been a byword for reliability.

Recommended for you

Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

2 hours ago

Kazakhstan's first-ever Earth observation satellite is to be fired into orbit next week from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, launch company Arianespace said.

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

4 hours ago

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

20 hours ago

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

Kazakhstan's first-ever Earth observation satellite is to be fired into orbit next week from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, launch company Arianespace said.

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

Professional and amateur astronomers join forces

(Phys.org) —Long before the term "citizen science" was coined, the field of astronomy has benefited from countless men and women who study the sky in their spare time. These amateur astronomers devote hours ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

Cell resiliency surprises scientists

New research shows that cells are more resilient in taking care of their DNA than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, cells can adapt and make copies of their DNA in an alternative ...