back to article Russian Progress space truck crashes in Siberia

The Russians have lost an unmanned Progress supply vessel which blasted off at 13:00 GMT today from Baikonur Cosmodrome en route to the International Space Station. The country's Roscosmos space agency issued a brief statement explaining that the third stage of the Soyuz rocket tasked with lifting the space truck had failed …


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  1. benzaholic
    Black Helicopters

    exactly as someone planned

    Is it a coincidence that this happens so close to press articles about US-based third party space transport companies testing their wares?

    I think not.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "was not placed in the correct orbit"

    Alternatively "orbiting at negative altitude".

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      The best orbits...

      ...are those that do not intersect with the ground.

      1. pepper


        That really depends of perspective to be honest. I quite enjoy watching those ground intersecting orbits when its not my responsibility.

  3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    "was not placed in the correct orbit"

    Unfortunately the orbit actually achieved had perigee with a negative elevation above the mean see level...

    1. JohnG

      *sea level

      Did you mean sea level?

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        I did


  4. scarshapedstar

    In other news

    The Hindenburg suffered from insufficient cooling.

  5. Andus McCoatover

    Unfortunate, but...

    I think this old rocket still has an excellent success record.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean they now have one failure...

      From 1700+ launches? I was pretty shocked when I looked that up. It puts 130 shuttle launches into perspective.

      1. Parax

        Where exactly did you look that up?

        "... the safety record of the Soyuz-U rocket -- 745 successful launches and just 21 failures over nearly four decades"

        My source:

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        According to wikipedia

        Soyuz- U

        Total launches 745

        Successes 724

        Failures 21

        2.8% Failure Rate.

        Space Shuttle

        Total launchers: 132

        Successes: 130

        Failures: 2

        1.5% failure rate

        So the space shuttle was actually more reliable.

        Where did you get the 1,700 launches from? I imagine there is probably some "this site counted older version while other site didn't" thing going on.

        1. Nigel 11


          Can't remember what the appropriate statistics are for N experiments with a binary outcome (success | fail) but my gut feeling is that the above is insufficient data to prove (within 2 standard deviations) that the shuttle was significantly more reliable.

          Anyone care to supply the maths?

        2. Peter2 Silver badge


          To be fair, they are probably counting *everything* in the soyuz family. There is a reliable site (ie not wakypedia) with the correct breakdown to each rocket type somewhere, but I can't immediately find it. They certainly didn't just start at 1500 though.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Soyuz: U v's Family.

            It's AC's title inference that they only had one failure that raises the biggest question. It is certainly not the case.

            1. Peter2 Silver badge


              The Soyuz safety record isn't perfect, it's just similar to the shuttle, which is impressive given it's done ~15 times the number of launches. It costs about a tenth of the amount as well.

              Roll on the SpaceX rockets.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Bit of luck...

    That we aren't relying on Soyuz as the only means of getting people to the station... Oh, hang on...

    A cynic might suggest the the Russians will carry out an extensive investigation that results in launch prices going through the roof!

    1. Anonymous John

      We always were.

      The Shuttle couldn't stay up long enough to serve as an emergency lifeboat. Only the Soyuz meets that requirement at present.

    2. pepper

      quite so

      It appears to be rather reliable. So really I dont see a problem with that.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      Even bigger bit of luck that what crashed was *not* a Soyuz but a Progress supply ship.

      Same origins, different design.

      You might also note early indications are the 3rd stage was to blame. Had this *been* a crewed mission they would have hit the abort button or manually separated if too high.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @John Smith 19

        And the name of the rocket is? And what failed?

  7. BristolBachelor Gold badge


    I think this is a bit of a coincidence. I'm not going to suggest sabotage like other commentards might, but these things have normally been quite reliable, and I think that this is the 6th launch failure this year for the Russians.

    Normally after a couple of failures everyone is on their best behaviour and trying to not make any mistakes lest someone cut their nads off (or out, can't be sexist!).

    Even more suspicious is that these failures are not all on a common platform...

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  9. Stevie


    "was not placed in the correct orbit"

    NASA could use this spokesman.

  10. Dave 32


    Also known as a subterranean orbit.


  11. David 45

    People carrier?

    I hope this isn't a variant of what might be used to ferry astronauts to the ISS now the shuttle is retired. Sounds like a reliability review is in order.

    1. Simon Harris

      toilet parts...

      The BBC report suggests..

      "There are a number of factors that might prompt the ISS partners to lower the complement [of ISS]. One would be the desire to slow the use of those consumables, such as toilet parts, that are depleted more rapidly and therefore need more regular replenishment."

      One wonders after watching the rocket blow up, whether those toilet parts are being depleted more rapidly than usual up there!

    2. Annihilator Silver badge


      But bear in mind that manned launch configurations differ massively from unmanned launches, and that the pre-flight checks have different levels of risk assigned to them. In order to make launches as cost-efficient as possible compared with the risk, there's a fair chance that had there been people on the top of that stack, it wouldn't have launched.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    In Soviet Russia.....

    flying rocket delivers presents to baby reindeer!!

    (Ok, its not that good, but I made an effort)

    1. Steven Roper

      The way the "In Soviet Russia..." meme works

      is that in Soviet Russia, an object you normally do an action to or with, does that action to you instead. For example, "In Soviet Russia, television watches YOU!" - where normally *you* watch television. So a more apropos example for this subject might be something like "In Soviet Russia, the rocket flies into YOU!" - as opposed to you flying in(to?) the rocket. ;)

  13. asdf

    the ISS clusterf__k

    At some point I wonder if NASA will be forced to admit the ISS is the most expensive f__kup in space history. It has done very little for science and now that the only way to get there is looking more and more iffy wonder how long they will continue the charade. For what the ISS cost we could have went to Mars.

    1. Kevin 6

      not really

      Sure it might seem like it, but seeing NASA, and the others have sights set beyond the planet when would you want to learn your toilet/water recycler had design issues when in space, and broke down(or something equally needed)? when its in orbit close to the planet, and you can get parts to fix it easily, or halfway to mars or even on the moon?

      It might not seem it but in all honesty its a giant experiment in itself, and a giant test bed for different technologies.

    2. John Robson Silver badge


      No value?

      And going to mars is something which has been helped by the ISS (in terms of studies on long term microgravity environments on the human body)

  14. Solomon Grundy

    No Big Deal

    Rockets and spacecraft fail. If you consider how few launches (of anything) have actually been made, the success rate is about what you'd expect from a highly complex system full of electronics and explody things. A key factor is a lanuch is rarely "standard" - things are different for each launch which makes it exponentially harder to identify failures. Until there is a viable financial reason to send things into space, getting there will be science: Very expensive experiments undertaken by governments and rich people.

  15. Roger Stenning

    and the question that conspiracy nuts are asking is...

    ...did it come down vertically, and if so, how many trees did it flatten in a radiating pattern?

    Ahem. I'll get me coat ;-)

  16. Youngdog

    As every good trekker knows...

    ..when discussing Russian hardware it is customary to refer to them as 'wessels'

  17. Bobster

    Why was it launched anyway?

    If they had enough supplies to last a year, why was it launched in the first place? What was it full of? HP Touchpads?

    1. Simon Harris

      HP Touchpads???


      space is the only place left where Apple haven't tried to put an injunction on Galaxy Tabs...

      ... yet!

  18. CT

    "quite reliable"

    puts space travel into perspective against other kinds of travel when "quite reliable" is used to describe a rate of ~1-3% catastrophic failures.

    (using the figures from earlier posters in these comments)

  19. Rambo 1

    track record

    Aren't these the same fellows who lost a satellite recently?

  20. BinaryFu

    We need a new skit for this one...

    "Well, obviously this ship wasn't placed right"

    "You mean these ships need to be placed properly?"

    "Oh absolutely! This one wasn't even in the right orbit!"

    "Which orbit would that be, then?"

    "Well, obviously the one where it crashed, you see..."

    "So then you have orbits that aren't like that?"

    "Of course! I don't want people thinking this ship was unsafe due to errors in the design or anything, it was simply not placed in the correct orbit..."

    "So there are safer orbits, for the ships to be in?"

    "Absolutely! There are plenty of orbits out there, after all."

    "That are safer for the ship?"


    "Such as?"

    "Well, the ones where they don't crash into the earth during orbit, obviously."

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