A preliminary cause for the Russian launch failure has been found

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Good news: The Russians have pinned down a preliminary cause for the Progress launch failure last week.

Solving this quickly appears essential, as the space station was not really designed to fly unmanned.

Past NASA risk assessments show there is a one in 10 chance of losing the station within six months if astronauts and cosmonauts are not onboard to deal with any critical systems failures. The probability soars to a frightening one in two chance — a 50-percent probability — if the station is left without a crew for a year.


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