Headlines > News > Resupply Craft Lost While Crew Focuses on Departure and Science

Resupply Craft Lost While Crew Focuses on Departure and Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:51 am via: NASA
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The ISS Progress 44 spacecraft and nearly 3 tons of supplies for the International Space Station were lost Wednesday when the launch vehicle experienced a failure during the climb to orbit.

The launch took place as scheduled at 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday from Baikonur Cosmodrome (7 p.m. Baikonur time). However, Mission Control Moscow reported communication with the Progress 44 was lost 5 minutes, 50 seconds after its launch.

“At 1300 (GMT), we lifted off, following 320 seconds of flight there was a failure in the upper stage of the launch vehicle. We lost comm(unications) after a while with the launch vehicle and we did not report stage separation,” said Maxim Matuchen, the head of the Russian Mission Control Center.

International Space Station Program Manager Michael Suffredini held a news conference at the Johnson Space Center discussing the loss of the resupply vehicle and the impact it may have on the program and the crew. There are plenty of supplies to support the crew, and the station is in a good configuration. However, a Russian commission will be formed to investigate the root cause of the vehicle loss which may affect upcoming Russian spacecraft launches.

The Expedition 28 crew continued to prepare for the planned departure of three crew members, although the exact date of that upcoming departure is being reviewed following today’s Progress loss, and continued with science activities.

Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan prepared for their scheduled departure on Sept. 7. They stowed gear on the Soyuz vehicle in which they will return to Earth. Mission managers are discussing the possibility of extending their stay on orbit to maintain six-person crew operations on the station as options for the launch of the next three crew members, including NASA’s Dan Burbank, are considered.

Borisenko and Samokutyaev also donned lower body negative pressure suits that draw body fluids towards the feet. This is standard protocol for cosmonauts preparing to return to Earth after long duration missions in space. Garan gathered personal items and clothing for stowage and disposal.

Flight Engineer Mike Fossum stowed hardware from SHERE, or the Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment, after the completion of last week’s experiment runs. SHERE investigates the stress and strain response of a polymer fluid being stretched in microgravity. Fossum also cleaned up storage containers which hold experiment samples inside a science freezer.

Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov set up hardware for the RUSALKA experiment. Utilizing a camera and spectrum analyzer RUSALKA is testing procedures that will measure levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Flight Engineer and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa collected water samples from the Potable Water Dispenser for in-flight processing and analysis. The water will be tested for microbe and coliform detection using tools from the Environmental Health System.

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