MOSCOW, August 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The abortive launch of a Progress transport ship on Wednesday, August 24, will not affect the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) and its crew, the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said.
“The abortive launch of the Soyuz-U carrier rocket and the failure to put the Progress M-12M transport ship to the designated orbit will not influence support the life and work of the crews of the 28/29th expeditions to the ISS,” the agency said.
“Stocks of food, water and life support systems allow the crew to operate for a long time,” it said.
A source in rocket and space industry said earlier in the day that the ISS crew has sufficient supply of oxygen, food and other materials.
It said that “after 350 seconds of the flight a drop in pressure in the fuel tanks was registered, after which contact with the spacecraft was lost.”
Roscosmos also confirmed that the Progress transport ship that blasted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, has failed to reach the target orbit.
“According to preliminary information, during the launch of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with a Progress M-12M transport ship aboard on August 24, the engine malfunctioned in the third stage on the 325th second, which resulted in its emergency deactivation,” Roscosmos said.
“The transport ship Progress M-12M has not been put to the designated orbit,” it said.
The Soyuz-U carrier rocket with the Progress M-12M ship aboard was launched by Roscosmos crews at precisely the scheduled time – 17:00 Moscow time, the Mission Control Centre told Itar-Tass.
The transport ship will deliver more than 2,6 tonnes of supplies, including food, water, fuel, equipment, and presents, to the International Space Station (ISS) in two days.
It is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 18:38 Moscow time August 26.
Currently, there is a crew of six working aboard the ISS: Andrei Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyayev and Sergei Volkov of Russia, Ronald Garan and Michael Fossum of the NASA, and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan.
This is the fourth transport ship launch this year. The fifth one is scheduled for autumn.
Initially it was planned that after the end of U.S. space shuttle flights, Russia would send 4 manned and 6 transport ships to the ISS annually, but rocket and space industry specialists said the sixth transport ship might be launched to the ISS early next year.
“This year Russian ships, the European ATV, the Japanese HTV and the last shuttles brought all the necessary supplies to the station and there is no need to send one more transport ship at the end of the year,” the Mission Control Centre said.
However no postponement has been officially announced so far.