Launch of Superfast Russian Cargo Ship Mission Aborted at Last Minute

Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

SUPER-FAST Russian rocket to reach International Space Station in RECORD BREAKING time

"The launch of Russia's Progress 69 resupply ship to the space station today has been aborted", Nasa said on Sunday on its Twitter page for updates from the ISS.

The Soyuz rocket was carrying a Progress cargo ship from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station, with the aim of getting there within three-and-a-half hours. When it launched two days later, on October 14, if flew a more traditional two-day rendezvous to the space station.

Progress vehicles (and Russia's crewed Soyuz capsules) used to take two days to reach the space station, but in 2013 Roscosmos began flying shorter 6-hour trips with the spacecraft, drastically cutting down their transit times.

Officials hope to use the express approach for Soyuz crew ferry ships in the future, once demonstrated on unpiloted Progress missions.

He added that in the final minute before lift off, one of the two umbilical towers created to pull away from the rocket that trigger the start of the engine sequencing process may have failed. A puff of vapor vented from the rocket's pressurized propellant tanks as the countdown halted. "During the launch operations engines were shut down automatically; the cause of the incident is being investigated", it said. However, Sunday's launch abort shares similarities with the last-minute abort of an earlier cargo ship -Progress 68 -on October 12.

The Progress MS-08 supply ship is carrying more than 3 tons of food, fuel and supplies to the space station and its six-person crew.

Soyuz launch aborts are typically rare, with Russian rockets often taking off in thick clouds and snowfall. "A glitch of onboard and ground parts of the central system is similar to the problem during October launch of Progress MS-07", the source said.

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