Russian Progress 59 Spacecraft Glitch May Keep Astronauts From Getting Supplies

59 Russian Spacecraft  May Keep Astronauts From Getting Supplies

Russia's Progress 59 cargo spacecraft is spinning uncontrollably in space, a glitch that could keep astronauts from receiving the food and water they need at the International Space Station.

After separating from the Soyuz rocket that launched it into space this morning, NASA said several navigational antennas on the spacecraft failed to deploy and problems were reported with the propulsion system.

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The spacecraft went into a slow rotational spin. Attempts to dampen the spin were made as it passed over Russian ground stations, but NASA said the status of the systems on board was still unclear.

If this cargo ship doesn't reach the space station, it leaves the six-person crew short of food and water and supplies.

NASA's supply chain to the space station has been a problem since the space shuttle quit flying, and has been a patchwork of SpaceX, ESA ATV, Japanese HTV and Orbital Cygnus that has been bolstered by the annual four shipments a year on the Progress 59 cargo ship.

If they lose the cargo on this trip, it will present a serious challenge to get critical supplies to the space station.

Last October, an Antares rocket exploded shortly after launch, destroying thousands of pounds of cargo on board Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft.



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