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RIA Novosti

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Russia likely to suspend space deliveries over loss of Progress freighter

Topic: Russia loses Progress space freighter

International Space Station
20:57 24/08/2011
MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti)

Russia may fail to fulfill its obligations in delivering crews to the International Space Station after Wednesday's accident with Russia's Progress M-12M space freighter, a source in Russia's space industry said.

The space freighter fell in South Siberia's Altai Republic on Wednesday after failing to separate from the Soyuz-U carrier rocket, the first loss of the Progress freighter in the history of Russia’s space industry. A rocket engine failure is believed to have caused the accident.

"The scheduled launches of the [Soyuz] rockets are likely to be suspended because of the space freighter accident... until the reasons [of the accident] are established," the source said.

This means that members of the International Space Station's crew are likely to stay at the station longer than planned and that the new crew will not be able to replace them on schedule, he said.

After the retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet earlier this summer, Russian Soyuz craft became the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS until at least the middle of the decade. NASA is paying its Russian counterpart Roscosmos more than $1 billion for crew transport services over the next four years.

The Soyuz-U carrier rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan and was scheduled to separate at 5:09 p.m. Moscow time [13:09 GMT]. The source said the engine failure made it impossible for the spacecraft to achieve the required orbital velocity.

The Progress freighter was insured for 3 billion rubles ($103 million) by the Russian Insurance Center company, its representative said.

The space freighter was to deliver 2.7 tons of food, medical and scientific equipment, and other items to the ISS, the source said.

Russian space agency Roscosmos promised that the failure to deliver food to the ISS would not affect its crew, saying that food stocks on board the ISS were enough to sustain the crew for a “long time.”

Russian cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyayev and Sergei Volkov, as well as NASA astronauts Ronald Garan and Michael Fossum and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa are currently working on the ISS.

The next Progress cargo ship will not fly to the ISS before late September-early October, Gennady Raikunov, head of the Central Scientific Research Institute of Machine Manufacturing, said.

A special commission was created from representatives of Roscosmos and other space industry organizations to investigate the accident.

Russia has carried out more than 130 successful launches of Progress space freighters since they entered service in 1972.

Wednesday's accident is the second spacecraft loss for the Russian space industry in within a week. On August 18, the Express AM-4 telecommunications satellite failed to separate from the Proton-M carrier rocket and could not reach the designated orbit.

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RIA NovostiInternational Space StationRussia likely to suspend space deliveries over loss of Progress freighter

20:57 24/08/2011 Russia may fail to fulfill its obligations in delivering crews to the International Space Station after Wednesday's accident with Russia's Progress M-12M space freighter, a source in Russia's space industry said.>>

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  • ruypenalvaMr. Perminov is laughing
    06:16, 25/08/2011
    After an unexplainable (got old) fire Mr. Perminov may be laughing of so many failures in Russia space programe. By the way, who is the culprit of such failures? Mr. Denim-Apple advisories should explain him using a Microsoft Power Point. Two accidents in a week span in the same booster? Really, the NEP of Putin-Medvedev is of making Lenin to get out of the coffin...
  • xama226Something supicious
    08:23, 25/08/2011
    Too many launhes went wrong: The cargo, the telecom and the glonass cluster. The security of the process
    must be examined, including possible telemetry interference

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