ISS Astronauts Stuck Due To Russian Rocket Woes

Problems with the Russian Progress M-27M rocket are causing the travel home for ISS astronauts stuck on the International Space Station to have to wait a few more weeks as the Russian federal space agency has announced the delay due to recent problems with the Progress rocket.

The Progress -27M rocket recently failed in its mission to bring supplies and other materials to the International Space Station due to damage to its third-stage propulsion system, said a report of the Russian state commission. It had been slated to take several tons of food and other items to the ISS astronauts stuck in orbit.

The Progress spacecraft had been launched for travel to the International Space Station via a Soyuz rocket shot off on April 28th from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. It never made it there and ended its attempted travel to the ISS by burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere on May 8th after a communications failure.

ISS Astronauts Stuck in Orbit Till June

The ISS astronauts stuck on the station include NASA astronaut Terry Virts, commander of the ISS team, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian astronaut Anton Shkaplerov. They all three were supposed to take a Soyuz TMA-15M capsule to travel back to Earth on May 13th until the delay was announced. Officials want to ensure the safety of the ISS astronauts stuck in orbit so that they can travel back to Earth without incident, so the delay is being used to examine the Progress rocket and give it a thorough inspection before bringing the three astronauts back to Earth. As of now, officials expect the astronauts to remain on the International Space Station until at least some time in the beginning of June.

Russian Cargo Ship Also Delayed

The ISS astronauts stuck in orbit on the International Space Station are not the only things being delayed travel. The International Space Station resupply of food and other materials is also being delayed until July due to the inspection of the Progress rocket. However, there are no concerns about the ISS astronauts stuck in orbit running out of food or supplies, as they are said to have enough to last until the planned resupply date and in fact could survive until sometime this autumn if necessary, according to officials.

The findings of the inspection and investigation into the reasons for the failure of the Progress rocket are expected to be announced by May 22. Preliminary findings show that the Progress rocket lost control because there was a fuel leak in the Soyuz rocket and there were no issues with the accompanying freighter that held the supplies for the ISS astronauts stuck in orbit.