Money Matters - Simplified

Russian supply spaceship crashes in Serbia shortly after takeoff

The loss of the resupply vehicle will have no immediate impact on the program and the orbiting astronauts as they have enough supplies to last them up to three months.

An unmanned Russian spaceship, intended to carry supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), crashed Wednesday morning after failing to reach the planned orbit.

Shortly after its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the ISS Progress 44 cargo craft developed a malfunction in the propulsion system and plummeted back into earth, crash landing in a remote area of Siberia.

Russian space agency Roskosmos, said, "According to preliminary information, on the 325th second, there was an operating problem with the propulsion system that led to its emergency shutdown.”

The crash occurred about 25 miles from the closest residential area, in the Altai Republic, just north of the Russia-China border. Luckily no injuries have been reported.

Alexander Borisov, head of the Choisky region in Russia's Altai province. stated, "The explosion was so strong that for 100 kilometers (60 miles) glass almost flew out of the windows.”

The spaceship was carrying 2.7 tons of food, medical and scientific equipment, and other items for the six-member crew currently living on the ISS.

Crash poses no immediate threat to orbiting outpost
Since the grounding of the U.S. space shuttle program this summer, NASA now relies on Russian spacecrafts to ferry supplies and humans to the orbiting research lab.

The spaceship was carrying 2.7 tons of food, medical and scientific equipment, and other items for the six-member crew currently living on the ISS.

However, the loss of the resupply vehicle will have no immediate impact on the program and the orbiting astronauts as they have enough supplies to last them up to three months.

NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries stated, "We have a very good backload of food, fuel and other consumables on board the ISS after the STS-135 shuttle mission."

2nd failed launch in a week
Though the Progress supply vessel has had more than 745 successful launches and just 21 failures over nearly four decades, the latest disaster raises some doubts about the future Russian missions.

Wednesday’s accident is the second failed launch for Roskosmos in a week. On Aug. 18, the Express AM-4 telecommunications satellite could not reach the planned orbit after it failed to separate from the Proton-M carrier rocket.