Life / Technology

Russian supply ship launched to International Space Station

MOSCOW — An unmanned Russian cargo ship blasted off Thursday with a load of supplies to the International Space Station, but Russian space officials said they weren't getting data from it.

The Progress MS-04 cargo craft lifted off as scheduled at 8:51 p.m. (1451 GMT) from Russia's space launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It entered an orbit nine minutes later and was set to dock with the space station on Saturday.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos said in a statement that the transmission of data from the ship cut off 383 seconds after the launch and that experts are looking into the cause of the glitch.

NASA reported in a live broadcast that the ship's navigational antennas have apparently been deployed, but there has been no solid confirmation that the Progress' solar panels have fully unfolded.

The ship is delivering 2.5 metric tons of fuel, water, food and other supplies. NASA said in a statement that the food supplies at the International Space Station are at good levels and whatever happened with Progress shouldn't affect the six-member crew onboard.

The Progress has been in service for more than four decades, and its current version is fully digital and features an improved docking system.

The space station is currently inhabited by NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, Russians Sergey Ryzhikov, Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy, and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency.


Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

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