Progress M-027M is launched on Soyuz but falls into spin and is probably dead – Update: Now re-entered

by | Apr 28, 2015 | International Space Station, Russia, Satellites, Soyuz | 0 comments

It is believed that the Roscosmos-operated freighter/resupply vessel Progress M-027M (aka ISS-59P)  launched into orbit on its way to the International Space Station has now failed in orbit. The spacecraft was launched by a Soyuz 2-1A rocket fired from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan.  However, while the lift-off at 0709 GMT and subsequent ascent on 28 April 2015 went successfully not everything went to plan once the spacecraft reached orbit.  While the spacecraft’s solar arrays unfurled as intended, two antenna for its Kurs radar rendezvous system failed to deploy.  Telemetry then showed that other systems were also failing including the command uplink system and some of its attitude control system (pressurisation of its thrusters).

It was subsequently reported that the spacecraft was in a full-blown spin and may not be recoverable and that debris had been detected near the spacecraft possibly indicating an explosive event.  Russian mission control also reports that just before separation from the launch vehicle’s third stage there was a loss of telemetry possibly indicating an catastrophic failure of the spacecraft or upper stage before or during separation.  Telemetry was later recovered but only in an intermittent fashion.  Roscosmos later noted that an abnormal separation had taken place including two events associated with depressurization of the oxidizer and fuel tanks on the third stage.

The original “fast approach” method which lasts only six hours was cancelled and replaced by the traditional two day programme of orbital changes to achieve rendezvous with the space station.  This was to allow engineers time to recover the spacecraft, however even that rendezvous date was subsequently cancelled after things began to look increasingly grim for the mission.  The craft was carrying 2,750kg of cargo and fuel for the astronauts on the ISS. Progress spacecraft are currently insured on the Russian and international space insurance markets though the amount insured drops significantly after separation from the launch vehicle.

While the ISS astronauts are believed to have a sufficient margin of fuel and supplies on the space station it is under pressure. The resupply chain had already suffered a failure after an Antares launch explosion lost a Cygnus resupply craft last year.

UPDATE: Progress M-027M Re-entered safely over the Pacific at 0204 GMT on 8 May 2015 with any surviving debris falling into the ocean. Roscosmos confirmed that abnormal separation had taken place during the launch and that two events associated with depressurization of the oxidizer and fuel tanks on the third stage had taken place.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Starlink Group 5-2

On 26 January 2023, at 0932 GMT, a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 successfully launched 56 Starlink Gen2 satellites from Space Read more

Japan completes its first launch of the year of the radar reconnaissance satellite IGS RADAR-7

Kicking off its launch year, Japan has placed a radar reconnaissance satellite into near-500 km sun-synchronous low Earth orbit (LEO). Read more

Tom Cruise may have saved cinema industry with Top Gun-Maverick but he has even higher movie plans with space station studio module now ordered

While action film actor Tom Cruise has his detractors, you cannot say he is not successful. Recently starring in the Read more

Rocket Lab’s Electron KS rocket performs another successful launch – this time from the US East Coast

After another day's delay due to bad weather, a Rocket Lab Electron KS rocket successfully launched three 30 kg Hawk Read more

First ISS spacewalk for 2023 completed

On 20 January 2023 JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann opened the Quest airlock hatch at 1312 Read more

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Starlink Group 2-4 from Vandenberg

At 1543 GMT on 19 January a SpaceX Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket conducted its first Starlink mission of 2023. Read more

SpaceX deploys GPS satellite for US Space Force

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 from Cape Canaveral, USA at 1224 GMT on 18 January.  The vehicle Read more

Categories

Archives