Progress MS-04 lost on ascent

 Telemetry with the Progress MS-04 mission was lost after 382 seconds into the flight. Later reports confirmed the spacecraft did not achieve orbit. Image Credit: Roscosmos

Telemetry with the Progress MS-04 mission was lost after 382 seconds into the flight. Later reports confirmed the spacecraft did not achieve orbit. Image Credit: Roscosmos

About 383 seconds into a launch that started with a flawless liftoff, Roscosmos lost contact with the Soyuz-U rocket carrying the unpiloted Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.

A few hours later, the Russian space agency reported the third stage of the carrier rocket shut down early, preventing the Progress from achieving orbit. The vehicle burned up in the atmosphere on the way back toward Earth. What may have survived crashed over the remote and unpopulated mountainous area of the Republic of Tyva.

This was the third time in ISS program history that a Progress vehicle failed to reach the outpost. The first occurred in August 2011 when the Soyuz carrier rocket's third stage shut down prematurely -- similar to the current incident. 

The second was in April 2015. That Progress, M-27M, reached orbit, but was unable to deploy its antennas. When mission control in Moscow was finally able to communicate with it, video was downlinked from an engineering camera showing the spacecraft tumbling wildly.

While the space station crew will not be receiving supplies from Progress MS-04, they are safe and consumables are at good levels.

According to NASASpaceflight, the space station has enough supplies to last through April 2017 (or June 2017 with rationing). Currently the main limiting resource is water, which is expected to last through March 2017.

However, despite this setback for the Russian space agency, there are other cargo ships in the queue to launch to the outpost.

On Dec. 9, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch Kounotori 6. It will berth to the ISS about a week later.

Additionally, SpaceX is hoping to launch its CRS-10 Dragon capsule in January 2017. Finally, in March, Orbital ATK will launch a Cygnus toward the ISS via and Atlas V.

Video courtesy of NASA

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Derek Richardson

I am a space geek who loves to write about space.

My passion for space ignited when I watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on October 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, I soon realized that my true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.

Currently, I am a senior at Washburn University studying Mass Media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism. In addition to running Orbital Velocity, I write for the Washburn Review and am the Managing Editor for SpaceFlight Insider.