In what is shaping up to be a truly miserably month for the Russian aerospace sector, two Russian news outlets are reporting that Friday’s planned orbit boost of the International Space Station did not take place.
According to Sputnik International: “The Russian Mission Control Center was informed of the fact that the Progress’ engines did not start on time by our American colleagues in Houston. The orbit correction was not carried out. According to preliminary data, there was no confirmation of the possibility to turn on the engines of the cargo craft. This is a whole procedure preceding the start of the engines themselves. It is possible that the problem is in the control system.”
Meanwhile, an update in TASS reports:
“Experts of the Mission Control Centre (MCC) know reasons of the emergency situation as they tried to correct the orbit of the International Space Station on May 16 and are ready to make the correction in small hours on Monday, Vladimir Solovyev, head of the Russian segment control, told TASS on Saturday.
Word of the re-boost difficulty came only hours before the failure of a Proton rocket carrying a Mexican communications satellite, adding to a general sense of chaos hanging over the Russian space program. While the Station is in no immediate danger, the situation is complicated by the loss of the most recent Progress vessel, the 59 / M-27M craft which reentered the atmosphere last week as a result of launch anomaly which has yet to be identified.