Russia’s Unmanned Cargo Spaceship Faces Technical Issues

cargo spaceship

On April 28th, a Russian unmanned spaceship carrying food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) crew experienced a glitch soon after launching toward the space station.

The Progress 59 spacecraft blasted off atop a Soyuz rocket on Tuesday at 3:09 a.m. EDT from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan.

NASA said in a statement that Russian flight controllers are continuing to troubleshoot issues with the ISS Progress 59 cargo craft. The spacecraft continued to experience telemetry problems regarding the deployment of navigational antennas and the pressurization of the manifolds in the propulsion system.

Progress 59, which carries more than 6,000 pounds (2,720 kilograms) of food, fuel, and supplies for the space station crew, was scheduled to arrive at the orbiting lab just six hours after liftoff, at about 9 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. However, due to the antenna issue, Progress 59 now will make a two-day, 34-orbit rendezvous with the station. With the two-day rendezvous, the Russian cargo craft is scheduled to arrive at the space station at 5:03 am Thursday.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 257 miles over northeast Kazakhstan near the Russian border.

Flight controllers will continue to look at the telemetry system to determine the overall health of the spacecraft’s systems. They are working to establish a good link with the cargo craft as it approaches the space station.

Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and his five crew mates are conducting a variety of microgravity experiments on board the space station as they await the arrival of Progress 59.

Progress 59 is one of four robotic spacecraft that supply cargo to the space station. Those spacecraft include Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle, the Dragon, and Cygnus. The last two of these are built by SpaceX and Orbital ATK.

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About the author

Nadeem has more than 5 years of experience as a news writer/editor. He started his career as a business news reporter at a Virginia-based financial research firm in 2008. At Morning Ledger, Nadeem is responsible for writing news stories on health and science topics.