An unmanned Russian supply ship headed for the International Space Station didn’t make it into orbit Wednesday; its pieces fell in Siberia with a huge explosion. Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, didn’t say if the supply ship was lost—duh. On the other hand, pieces of the craft were reported falling in an area 900 mi northeast of the launch site.
It seems that this region has experienced lots of Russian rocket fragments for decades and has experienced chemical pollution and other health hazards. Unburned propellant in the third stage, and a ton of hypergolic propellant in the cargo ship, would make quite an explosion, either on impact or after being ignited high in the air.
The ship was carrying 2.5 tons of supplies, including oxygen, food and fuel. Since the ending of our space shuttle program this summer, these wonderfully dependable Russian spaceships are a main supply link to the space station. Fortunately, none of these supplies were in shortage on the Space Station.
There are six astronauts on the International Space Station, orbiting 220 mi above the Earth, Russians Andrei Borisenko, Alexander Samokuyayev and Sergei Volkov, Americans Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan, and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan.
Once, and if, our nation gets its run-away finances fully under control, the US should start its on space program again. We are dependent on the hostile and unreliable Russians for all movement into and out of space now—which means we have zero control. I hope we can begin again someday.