Progress spaceship to ISS destroyed, most pieces burned up in atmosphere – Roscosmos
The Progress M-04 cargo spacecraft was lost at a height of 190km (more than 623,000ft) over a remote mountainous area of the Russian Republic of Tyva, Roscosmos said in a statement on its website.
Most of the debris burnt up in the Earth’s dense atmosphere layers, the statement adds. A state commission is carrying out an investigation into what caused the incident.
“After the launch of the Soyuz-U launch vehicle along with the Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft, telemetry connection was lost on the 383th second of flight,” Roscosmos said in a statement.
The data received from the spacecraft is not enough to say clearly what went wrong with the Progress MS-04 during the separation of the rocket’s third stage, NASA also said.
The navigation equipment of Progress did open, but there is no information whether its solar batteries are functioning properly, the US space agency added.
Roscosmos: Telemetry from the #Soyuz U carrying Progress MS-04 was lost at T+383 seconds.— ISS Updates (@ISS101) December 1, 2016
The Progress craft managed to reach an interim orbit, but its coordinates are yet to be established, according to the US space agency.
“Our astronauts and the Russian cosmonauts are safe aboard the station. Consumables aboard the station are at good levels,” NASA’s blog reported after the incident.
ProgressMS04: NASA says 3rd stage may have shut down "earlier than planned;" telemetry is "not clear" as to whether solar arrays fully out— William Harwood (@cbs_spacenews) December 1, 2016
The cargo spacecraft was expected to deliver 2.6 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 50 aboard to the ISS. It took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazkhastan at 9:51am EST (8:51pm local time).
Progress-series spacecraft have also faced issues in the past. In 2015, the Russian cargo ship Progress-M27M went into an orbit 40km higher than was initially planned. The craft was also carrying 2.5 tons of cargo for a multinational ISS crew, including oxygen, food, fuel, and equipment for scientific experiments, as well as personal packages for the cosmonauts and astronauts.
ISS crews usually have an extra stock of supplies in case a supply run fails.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is expected to launch an H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 to the space station on December 9, NASA’s blog also said.