Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Russian space capsule in space station failure

An unmanned Russian capsule has failed in an attempt to dock with the International Space Station

An unmanned Russian space capsule carrying supplies to the International Space Station has failed in a docking attempt, Russian Mission Control and Nasa said.

The Progress space capsule is carrying more than two tons of food, water and other supplies for the orbiting laboratory. Three Russian and three US astronauts comprise the current crew.

None of the supplies were deemed necessary for the station's immediate survival and the outpost is well supplied, said Nasa flight commentator Rob Navias.

The spokesman for Russian Mission Control outside Moscow, Valery Lyndin, said only that the failure was due to an unspecified technical problem. Nasa said the failure was due to an antenna problem.

The Interfax-AVN news agency said space station commander Alexander Skvortsov reported the Progress was "rotating uncontrollably" as it neared the space station.

But Nasa spokeswoman Brandi Dean said the unmanned cargo ship is still in control.

It missed the station by about 1.9 miles; an hour later the cargo ship was four miles ahead of the space station but in the same orbit, she said.

Another docking attempt is likely to be tried on Sunday, said Vitaly Davydov, deputy director of the Russian space agency, according to the Interfax-AVN news agency.

The Russian Progress capsules have been a reliable supply system for the space station and their importance will increase with the end of the US space shuttle programme.

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