Space Station Resupply Module Fails To Reach Orbit

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WASHINGTON — A Russian cargo module launched Aug. 24 toward the the international space station has failed to reach orbit, Russian news sources reported.

The Mosocow-based Interfax news agency reported Aug. 24 that Progress 44 failed to reach orbit. The nongovernment Russian media outlet cited a source within the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

Progress 44 launched aboard a Russian Soyuz-U rocket at 9 a.m. EDT time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

RIA Novosti, Russia’s state-owned news agency, said that “problems were reported while the Progress M-12M space freighter separated from the Soyuz-U carrier rocket on Wednesday.” RIA Novosti also cited unidentified sources within Roscosmos.

NASA did not immediately confirm that the Progress freighter failed to reach orbit. However, the U.S. space agency passed on word from its space station Mission Control center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston that Russian officials had contacted them to report “an abnormal situation” following the launch.

“Mission Control Moscow reported an abnormal situation from the Progress 44 cargo craft that launched on time at 9 a.m. EDT today,” NASA wrote in a press release issued almost two hours after launch. “5 minutes and 50 seconds after launch, Mission Control Houston received a report of an ‘off-nominal situation’ during the rocket’s third and final stage,” NASA said.

NASA spokesman Mike Currie declined further comment, referring Space News to the agency’s press release.

Roscosmos did not immediately release its own statement about the apparent failure.