back to article Robotic cargo spacecraft misses rendezvous with ISS

An unmanned Russian cargo ship missed its scheduled rendezvous with the International Space Station on Friday after a telemetry lock between the two spacecraft failed. Engineers are scrambling to figure out why. The robotic Progress 38 spacecraft sailed past the station as its crew tried in vain to regain telemetry with the it …


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  1. Dick Emery


    That's one big screwup. Does that mean they will be stuffed for supplies and have to return to Earth? I would not like to be stuck up there with no options.

    1. Leeroy


      I believe that they have an emergency re-entry vehicle docked with the station. If they run out of toilet roll they can all jump in and be back on earth for a beer within an hour or so :)

    2. Dom 3


      RTFA: "Nasa officials said they don't consider the supplies to be critical to space station operations."

      I expect they'll get it to dock next time round: even if not, no big deal. They keep the cupboards well stocked.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a biggie

      The Progress has plenty of fuel and power to make another attempt at docking. This is a spacecraft with a formidable track record; there have been previous failed dockings, and you can bet the Russians will fix this.

      1. Anonymous John


        Second attempt due today (or yesterday if there are no mods on duty Sunday) at 12.10 pm EST.

        The Progress in working normally, and the Russians are blaming electrical interference from the ISS.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Did anyone else read that as

      "...... stuck up there with no onions"

      OK, I'll get my coat

  2. MacRat

    No Soup for You!

    Until you release our Russian spies.

  3. BongoJoe


    They didn't deploy the iAntenna for the telemetry, did they?

    Coat because I'll get my spacesuit

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Looks like they're going to have to wait 900 years

    For the lemon soaked paper napkins.

  5. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    Russian Quality Control?

    Perhaps one of the tubes burned out?

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Don't knock it.

      If they are running it on tubes (unlikely, but for the sake of argument) then it'd be a hell of a lot better at surviving in orbit than more modern equipment. Vacuum tubes aren't particularly susceptible to the effects of cosmic rays and solar wind, which can easily bugger up solid-state circuitry and leave a satellite completely non-functional. They're also more tolerant of temperature extremes than solid-state ICs, which would mean they were more capable of surviving the rigours of space flight with relatively less complex cooling equipment.

      Just because something is old technology doesn't make it worse in every possible situation. It's often more robust, cheaper, and easier to use.

      1. amlendu kumar

        VAcuum Tube

        And an odd jolt would not make the heating filament useless AKA the tube ?.

        Thats why ICs and transistors are solid state init.

      2. Andus McCoatover

        Old? "It's often more robust, cheaper, and easier to use."

        Yeah. My missus says that, too. Birthdays and Christmas only, natch.

        Cheaper? "Saves the V.A.T. on the batteries, squire". Having trouble with the 'robust' bit, but...

      3. elderlybloke

        Don't knock it


        It is just a young ,inexperienced twit trying to show his "intelligence".

  6. gimbal

    Hey that's alright, it can wait for us at the lagrange point with the moon*

    ...and some four years down the line or so, when NASA might get to have a moon-reaching program again.

    Hey, but maybe they forgot to convert some Imperial units into Metric? Tee hee.

    So, but why not just pull up a beer and wait for 'em throw the big grappling hook, after all?

  7. Bob Sanders

    I got it ... I got it ... I got it


    I ain't got it

    1. Restricted Access

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Nice one, Chunk

  8. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Start of the new solar cycle maybe?

    I noticed the sun getting a little bit uppity lately, (thanks Maybe it was improperly shielded and a minor flare nuked the electronics?

  9. strangefish


    Oxygen and water are non-critical supplies?

    Wonder if it's the old feet/metres mix up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mr. Flibble

      Has sentenced them to two hours W.O.O (With Out Oxygen), or however long it takes for the supply craft to come back round again.

  10. AceRimmer1980

    Sorry you were out.

    Please allow 90 minutes if you would like to attempt redelivery, or you can collect the charred remains from the Baikonur sorting office, after re-entry.


  11. Adam Foxton

    It's a good thing

    that we'll always have Nasa and it's reusable spacecraft to rely on, or we'd be stuffed! Relying on the Russian space program indeed!


  12. Anonymous Coward

    Controlled from Russia's iPhone

    And due to it's great antenna design, it lost the signal.

  13. Mike Kamermans
    Thumb Down

    how is this snafu?

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the acronym you felt like using? it means Situation Normal: All Fucked Up. Hardly the right description for space station docking science, sir.

  14. Lance 3


    Has any progress been made? I'll get my own coat.

  15. Andus McCoatover

    Anenna fault? WTF??

    Is Progress controlled by a Jobsworth?

    The "Hand of God" needs to shift its fingers a bit, I wager.

    With due apologies to Diego Maradonna, natch, after last evening's drubbing.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    To be a little bit serious

    It is *highly* unlikely that ISS supplies would be allowed to fall to the level where they are 1 ship away from starvation, hence the "Not essential" comment.

    I looked up the Soyuz on board computers and they are beasts. USSR mfg chips and weigh about 70Kg (roughly late 60's TTL near as I can tell). The docking hardware is likely to be a *bit* more up to date. In some ways this is a bad thing as the smaller geometry makes it *more* prone to single even upset by a stray particle releasing holes and electrons in the wrong place. It's still doubtful this would have caused the fail.

    Weather this is what happened or if its a simpler explanation, (dry PCB joint, loose aerial connection) will probably have to wait for a board of enquiry. it is *very* curious that ISS should loose telemetry data at such short range from the transmitter.

  17. Ivan Headache

    As an avid ISS watcher

    I was out last night to watch it pass over. It was a very clear night and even though it wasn't completely dark, quite a few stars were visible. As the ISS came into view I was wondering whereabouts the progress ship would be, and would it be visible?

    Just before the ISS reached maximum elevation we spotted the Progress about 5-10 degrees ahead of it on an identical track.

    Next good pass over London is tonight (sunday) at about 2148. If there's no cloud it should be easy to see as it will be directly overhead (comes in from the west).

    1. M Gale

      Very useful site, for anyone who fancies trying to spot the ISS. Depending on how close it gets, it's bright enough to see on an evening pass so try checking for "all passes" as well as "visible passes". The website seems to automatically mark any passes made before absolute darkness as not visible.

      Also a pair of 20x50 binoculars seems enough to make the station go from "very bright moving dot" to "very wobbly elongated dot". At some point I'll get the chance to spot it with some proper optics in a region that doesn't have an orange sky at night.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2nd time lucky...

    Made it second time:-

  19. Max_Normal

    Strauss Waltz anyone?

    Can't help imagining it sailing past to the sounds of the "Blue Danube", I mean you'd have to have a cd of it on board wouldn't you.

  20. Saran
    Thumb Down

    Cockup ???

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was due to some miscalculations with the use of pounds and miles and such. Jeezzz get with the program. The modern world is using kg, km and such.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Turns out ...

    ... it was fine, it was just a bug in the software they were using to report the telemetry signal strength. They've ordered the rubber bumpers for next time.

  22. Hugh Jorgen

    220 pounds of water......

    Woohoo boys, the fresh water's here..... fuckety, it's overshot!!!!!

    Um, pint of piss anyone?

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