Science & Environment

Russian cargo ship fails to dock with space station

The Russian cargo vehicle Progress has failed to dock with the International Space Station after an apparent electronics failure.

There was a failure of "telemetry", effectively the radio contact needed to complete the docking, Nasa said.

The spaceship was carrying food, fuel and other supplies, but the station is still currently well stocked.

The six astronauts on the space station were never in any danger during the incident, Nasa said.

Further attempts to dock with the space station have been ruled out for today. Based on the nature of the orbit, the next attempt could be about 48 hours away, Nasa suggested.

The first docking attempt had been due to happen at 1658 GMT. The telemetry failure happened about 28 minutes before.

After the problem arose, the Progress was forced to make a "pass" of the space station. It did so at a safe distance of 3km and the gap between them is currently widening, Nasa said.

It has not yet been revealed what may have caused the equipment failure.

The Progress-type cargo ships have proved themselves reliable workhorses for re-supplying the ISS over many years and a failure to dock is rare, says BBC science reporter Matt McGrath.

The ISS project is a partnership of five - the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. It currently has six crew, three Russian and three from the US.

The station functions as a research lab for various experiments in a low-gravity environment, as well as a platform for the testing of equipment used in space travel.

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