A Record-Breaking Supply Rocket to the ISS was Suddenly Halted
A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket, named Progress 69, was supposed to be one of the fastest resupply missions to the ISS in the station's history, carrying three tons of food, fuel, and other miscellaneous supplies. Within minutes of its planned departure, NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos seemed to making preparations as normal, but the launch was inexplicably cancelled moments before liftoff.
According to NASA spokesman Rob Navias, who said the following during a live statement just before the rocket's launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan:
It doesn't appear to be a problem with the rocket itself - Navias went on to say the issue seemed to be with the two structures holding the rocket upright before the engine ignites. One of the two structures disconnected properly, but the other one did not disconnect just 12 seconds before the launch.
Since it would have caused a big mess if the rocket took off in those circumstances, the whole ordeal was scrubbed, and the Soyuz will likely take off at a later date, meaning it could be a couple extra days before the ISS crew gets those supplies.
Up early? Watch as three tons of food & supplies launch from Earth to the crew living and working on the International Space Station live this morning at 3:30am ET: https://t.co/qh7nl7VR2Q pic.twitter.com/xMOBoUohwv— NASA (@NASA) February 11, 2018
If the launch had gone as planned, the Soyuz would have taken only three-and-a-half hours to reach the space station, an improvement over the current six hour average that "Progress" rockets take, and a major improvement over the previous average of two days before Roscosmos made improvements.
So until then, the record will stay as is. And the ISS will surely be frustrated about the late supplies.