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Russia Has Lost Contact With Cargo Ship Headed For International Space Station

Zero Hedge Thursday, 1 December 2016
Russia Has Lost Contact With Cargo Ship Headed For International Space Station*An uncrewed Russian spacecraft meant to resupply the International Space Station appears to have suffered a malfunction shortly after launch today. *

Roscosmos, *Russia’s space agency, tweeted that it lost communication with the spacecraft 383 seconds into the flight*.

????? ????? ??????-???????? «????-?» ? ???????? #??????????04 ? 383 ???. ??????? ??????????. ??????????? ?????????? ???????? ????????. pic.twitter.com/yiwx7NUxIF

— ????????? (@roscosmos) December 1, 2016

*The third stage of the rocket, which helps propel the cargo ship to its final orbit, reportedly shut down “earlier than planned”* according to NASA’s live broadcast of the mission...

ProgressMS04: NASA says 3rd stage may have shut down "earlier than planned;" telemetry is "not clear" as to whether solar arrays fully out

— William Harwood (@cbs_spacenews) December 1, 2016

As The Verge reports, *Roscosmos has not said whether the spacecraft’s power-generating solar arrays have successfully deployed, or whether the ship was able to make it into its preliminary orbit.* The spacecraft could already be headed back towards Earth if a malfunction occurred while the spacecraft was still executing its third stage burn.

The *ship is carrying more than 5,300 pounds (2,400 kilograms) of cargo, including food, water, propellant, and other supplies.*

NASA schedules cargo flights in such a way that a loss of one or two missions can’t directly endanger the crew aboard the space station. The next ISS resupply mission is supposed to take place sometime in early 2017. *Roscosmos is one of three entities capable of resupplying the ISS. Two private spaceflight companies — SpaceX and Orbital ATK — have contracts with NASA that allow them to send cargo to the space station. *A third company will join them in 2019.

*This is the second time in the last two years that Russia’s space agency has had trouble with an ISS resupply mission.* In April of 2015, Roscosmos lost control of its cargo spacecraft during the Progress 59 mission. That ship spun wildly out of control and eventually burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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News video: Reports of Explosions After Russian Cargo Craft Vanishes

Reports of Explosions After Russian Cargo Craft Vanishes 00:34

Russian space officials said they have lost track of a cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, as other reports describe an explosion and the fall of debris, indicating the rocket and its payload have been lost.The Progress MS-04, launched from Kazakhstan, was scheduled to dock...

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