A spacecraft en route to deliver 6,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station experienced difficulties after taking off and losing communication with Russian flight controllers.
The Progress 59 Cargo Craft, containing food, fuel, water and spare parts, launched on a Soyuz rocket Tuesday morning, but a problem occurred that prevented controllers from knowing whether navigational antennae had deployed as planned, and whether the fuel system had properly pressurized. NASA said the controllers decided to delay the spacecraft’s planned contact with the ISS in two days until the situation is better understood.
In the meantime, the six ISS crew members are safe and have enough supplies to last them beyond their next planned delivery, a SpaceX mission scheduled for no earlier than June 19.
In 2011, the Russian Federal Space Agency also lost a Progress spacecraft shortly after liftoff when it failed to make it into orbit. That incident marked the first failure of a Progress spacecraft since launches began in 1978.
The complications with the resupply mission come as Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko pass the one-month mark in their yearlong mission aboard the ISS.