Too bad the shuttles are shuttered. A Russian Progress cargo spaceship bound for the ISS crashed in eastern Russia this morning after failing to reach orbit. After launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrom in Kazakhstan in the wee hours today the spacecraft encountered some kind of trouble--Russian broadcaster RT said "engine trouble," but that could mean a lot of things--and plummeted back to Earth with the nearly four tons of food, fuel, oxygen, and other supplies it was taking up to the International Space Station.
Investigators are on the scene trying to figure out the precise cause of the crash. It's the second failed launch in a month for Roskosmos, which failed to put the Express communications satellite into the proper orbit after launching it aboard a Proton rocket from Baikonur on August 18.
We're not yet sure how this effects the crew aboard the ISS, but we'll update if/when more information becomes available. RT's report is below.
Ya know what the Russians just dont do space like us Americans can and thats a fact! Honestly this is why we need Space X and we need them now! I also cant wait till Bigelow can get their space stations in orbit. I think with Space X, Bigelow, and NASA we can dominate the Space Race. I would mention Virgin Galactic but their more focused on Sub Orbital flight than anything else.
But seriously having to depend upon the Russians is a depressing fact. Go Space X!!!!
This is very unfortunate. Any space activity is a good thing and any failure hurts everybody. However, it does emphasise the need for an alternative method of resupplying the ISS. Good for SpaceX.
This is just another minor mishap in what is normally a routinely successful operational history for Roscosmos. There are other means by which a shipment of supplies can and will be sent up top, but still...
It's a little heart renching when the product of billions of tax-paying dollars goes plumetting into the sea with other useful resources that could go to waist.
Russia was the first to reach space. They will be the last also. Long live russia.
Now imagine there were astronauts on that thing.
@Aldron, exactly what I was thinking...
Trusting Russian technology to keep the ISS supplied and manned is too great of a risk, imho.
Yah. It's too bad they don't have a flawless safety record like the Americans do. Reckless Soviets...
They were probably just practicing for when they crash the ISS into the ocean.
Russian technology may be old, but it's pretty reliable. They've been flying Soyuz since the 1960s. Plus, there "recklessness" could just be misinterpreted for steadfastness. When accidents happen they don't get squeamish and expedite killing off one of the best things the country has going for it.
In case no one caught the undertone, The Space Shuttle program was canceled because members of the U.S. Congress made a decision off the squeamish response to the Columbia disaster. They coupled this with the Challenger disaster and decided the Space Shuttle was too dangerous (and expensive: they love using that 'e' word) to continue operating; enter the Constellation Program pushed by the Bush Administration.
Lockheed Martin was developing a technologically more advanced replacement for the Space Shuttle in conjunction with NASA (anyone remember the Venture Star; experimental design designated X-33) that would have brought manned spaceflight into the single-stage-to-orbit launch era (still years away now), but Congress through around that 'e' word again and decided to effectively kill NASA funding for the program (Lockheed Martin is still developing the technology but at a reduced pace; it would have replaced the Space Shuttle in 2004 to 2006 if it were shown a little more love).
Now America's public aerospace foundation is reduced back to modular rocket flight based on shuttle leftovers thanks to a degraded, helplessly recovering, barely stable economy in which less than 1% of 26% gross domestic product of the country funds the space program.
The policy makers of the United States need to step their game up and re-prioritize the allocation of government spending. Without the support, free-enterprise in aerospace may not stand a chance to grow and flourish if it doesn't have the founding public aerospace organization guiding the successful operation of these new enterprises.
@pheonix1012...you make some good points, however, the shuttle was kept around way past its service life to finish building the ISS, it has been way more expensive than promised and also did not produce nearly the amount of flights promised, we definatley could not afford to keep the shuttle around because it is cool when much cheaper systems can do the work load of near earth orbit, the x-33 had a catastrophic failure in testing and was also way over budget, i believe that is what led to its cancellation if my memory serves me, if lochheed can develope orion basicly on their own than they can develope single stage to orbit on their own and nasa will buy it if it delivers, cheers
This isn't the only launch failure Russia has suffered recently due to upper stage failure - they lost their last two consecutive Proton launches when their Briz-M second stages malfunctioned. Not good.
There have also been tense moments when parts of the Soyuz cr engineering section failed to separate due to defective explosive bolts, causing the passengers to have very rough, high-G ballistic re-entries.
The bottom line is that we can't look at past Soyuz etc. successes as indicative of future events because their quality control IS slipping and has been for years. This is no secret.
What is very apparent now is that the US needs its own crew calabilities, and the closest to flight are those in the NASA commercial crew development (CCDev) program;
SpaceX Dragon: closest to crew flight. Already flying in cargo trim. Crews in ~2014. Major need are the Super Draco launch escape/landing thrusters that start testing soon at White Sands.
Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser: the only spaceplane. Drop tests next year, flight tests in ~2014.
Boeing CST-100: an Orion look-alike, but without the long flight capabilities of Dragon or Dream Chaser. 2014-2015.
We need to retask some uncommitted funds from projects like the questionable Space Launch System to get at least two of these crew spacecraft flying, and keep them going so that we always have one operational. No more of this all eggs in one basket nonsense.
@docmordrid...well put, the time has come for multiple vehicle orbital flight capability, spacex is the closest so should be fast tracked into service then get the others online asap, it appears this is the case with nasa approving the nov spacex flight to the ISS, hopefully it can become certified to fly astronauts in 2012, cheers
"Ya know what the Russians just dont do space like us Americans can and thats a fact! "
Since 1971, the Soviet/Russian space program has suffered no human losses.
So, yes, you are right... the Russians don't do space like the Americans...primarily because they stay alive while doing it.
I guess I just believe that transition from one vehicle to the next could have been seamless if planned correctly by the legislative body controlling the money.
Lockheed Martin will do its business as it can. I would still love to see them see the Venture Star through. Has already been proven to work. It's just gotta get a little extra love from shareholders and policy makers.
The fact of the matter is science and scientific experiment is expensive (be it the Space Transportation System: i.e. Shuttle, or the Constellation Program). People can not just get surprised and crochety when developmental test and operating procedures cost more than what they thought they would (no one can predict the future; let alone how much a scientific experiment will cost in the end).
You have to see something through. Leads me to believe that the excuse of something "costing too much," is usually a scapegoat to reduce or kill funding to something in order to allocate money for some other cause. Remember, NASA gets a substantially miniscule portion of public funds compared to the other government services.