Progress freighter in big trouble


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A Progress freighter launched by Russia to ISS on Tuesday was placed in the wrong orbit, has not deployed its radar antennas needed for rendezvous, and is not responding properly to commands on the ground.

Whether it is in the wrong orbit might be an incorrect report, but other sources demonstrate clearly that the spacecraft is tumbling out of control. Based on all these reports, it does not look good for this vehicle. The crew on ISS, including the two astronauts on a year-long mission there, might have to do without these supplies.

Meanwhile Russia is proceeding with its plans to consolidate control of all aspects of its aerospace industry under the banner of a single government “super-corporation” run by Roscosmos. Considering the number of technical failures they have had with spacecraft and rockets in the past five years, it seems to me that this is the worst approach for solving these problems. Then again, Russian culture strongly favors a top-down authoritarian approach, so it might work better under this Soviet-style approach.

I don’t believe it, but we are going to find out in the coming decades.

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2 comments

  • PeterF

    Looks like an opportunity for private space to step in and and save the day. As soon as Falcon 9 achieves reusability, short notice launch to order will be just around the corner

  • geoffc

    At some levels, SpaceX is backing up Orbital till Antares returns to flight.
    But heck yes, start reflying Dragon cargo, on reused first stages and man the price will drop!

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