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Station partners assess impacts after cargo launch failure |

It was the second failure in a row for the Russian space program after the Breeze-M upper stage of a more powerful Proton rocket malfunctioned last Thursday, stranding a communications satellite in the wrong orbit. The Breeze-M is not related to the Soyuz-U’s upper stage.

The Progress M-12M/44P spacecraft was loaded with 2,050 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 2,777 pounds of U.S. and Russian dry cargo. While the supply train to the space station is critical for supporting a full-time crew of six, the lab complex currently is in good shape, flush with supplies and equipment delivered to the outpost aboard the shuttle Atlantis in July.

But engineers want to find out what went wrong with the Soyuz-U upper stage as soon as possible because it is virtually identical to the third stage used by Russia’s manned Soyuz spacecraft. Launch of the next manned Soyuz mission is targeted for Sept. 22.continue reading


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