Russia has lost all contact with a supply ship that was headed to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of supplies. The ship was launched Russia’s space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Thursday.
The launch went as expected and there were no hitches. It was scheduled to dock with the International Space Station on Saturday. However, transmission of data from the ship ceased around 383 seconds after the launch. The cause of the same is unknown although experts are now investigating the matter.
According to NASA, while the ship’s navigational antennas were deployed, its solar panels may not have fully unfolded leading to this mishap. However, no one is certain at this point and it remains to be seen if contact can be re-established and if the cause of this incident envisioned.
The ship is delivering almost 2.5 metric tons of fuel, water, food and other necessary supplies to the ISS. However, there is no need to fret as the station is well stocked against emergencies and the six people abroad — including NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, Russians Sergey Ryzhikov, Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy, and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet won’t have any issues.
The Russian cargo ship has burnt up in the atmosphere.
Apparently, the third stage of the Soyuz rocket, which was supposed to come into action and propel the ship into its final orbit, shut down earlier than it was supposed to, causing the rocket to fall down towards the earth. After falling through the atmosphere, the rocket burned up soon after launch.
Interestingly, there were actually reports of fireballs in the sky of a Russian city Tuva, around the same time — however, a connection between the two wasn’t made until later.
This is the second Russian ship in as many years to have burnt up in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the next resupply mission to the ISS will be launched next week, by the Japanese space agency.