Russian Cargo Spacecraft Burns Up in Atmosphere
An unmanned Russian spacecraft meant to resupply the International Space Station has been lost and burned up in the atmosphere after falling back to Earth.
“As a result of an abnormal situation, the loss of the Progress cargo ship took place at an altitude of 190 kilometers [some 118 miles] above an unpopulated mountainous area in Tuva; most of the fragments burned up in the [Earth’s] atmosphere, according to preliminary data,” Roscosmos press service said.
The cargo ship was carrying more than 5,300 pounds of cargo, including food, water, propellant, and other supplies.
The spacecraft blasted off atop a Russian Soyuz-U rocket and was expected to arrive at the space station on Saturday (Dec. 3).
The launch went well but as Progress 65 was entering Earth’s orbit, mission controllers began to experience “ratty telemetry” data during the end of the third-stage engine performance.
Early reports indicate that the craft may have separated prematurely from the Soyuz. However, NASA’s says that the data received from the spacecraft is not enough to definitively say what went wrong with the Progress.
This incident marks the fourth loss of a resupply mission in just 25 months.