Grounding comes at a time when the Obama administration and NASA are facing massive criticism over the retiring of the shuttle and the reliance on the Soyuz to carry astronauts to the station.
Russia’s space agency (Roscosmos) aren’t having a very good week so it seems. Last Thursday a Proton M rocket carrying a 300 million dollar communications Satellite was “lost” only to be found a day later in a completely wrong orbit. while Astrium and Roscosmos were discussing options for the Satellite a Progress resupply ship to the international space station failed to enter orbit after the 3rd stage rocket failed. The craft was reported to have come down in Siberia.
The result of these two failures has been a grounding of the Soyuz fleet. Soyuz is the rocket that carries crew to the International Space station, and it’s grounding comes at a time when the Obama administration and NASA are facing massive criticism over the retiring of the shuttle and the reliance on the Soyuz to carry astronauts to the station. While the 1st and second stages are of a different design the third stage of the Progress craft and the Soyuz rocket are the same.
The Progress M-12M space freighter would have been the 44th to reach the space station. It was carrying 2.9 tons of cargo, including about 1.3 tons of dry goods — mostly consumables — with “water, fuel and gas” representing the rest of the payload. Although it is a blow the station still has enough supplies to last around a year after the Shuttle Atlantis replenished the station a few weeks ago.
One thing I did notice was the private companies were quick to jump on this and boast about their products abilities, before the boasting begins they should remember, to be a success, you need to not only launch but dock.