Roscosmos Launch To Space Station Canceled At Last Minute

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket on its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan after an aborted countdown Thursday. Credit TsENKI TV  Roscosmos

A statement from the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, simply said that "the launch of the space mission vehicle as part of the carrier rocket Soyuz-2.1A and transport cargo vehicle Progress MS-07 has been moved to reserve date of October 14, 2017".

Progress launches are relatively routine - this is the 68th Progress to resupply ISS and NASA refers to it as Progress 68 for that reason - but this one was meant to demonstrate a shorter, two-orbit trajectory to reach the ISS. This assumes the cause of the scrub is found and addressed before then.

Russia's Progress MS-07 cargo spacecraft will blast off two days late, on Saturday, October 14. If the Progress MS-07 launch occurs on Saturday, it will have to use the 34-orbit route. "That information will be provide by Roscosmos in due course". One of two retractable arms detached from the rocket in the final minute before launch, but the second umbilical connection, which normally pulls back around 15 seconds prior to liftoff, remained attached to the Soyuz booster. The second, smaller tower was supposed to retract at about the 12-second mark, which triggers the launch ignition sequence. As such, the engines did not ignite.

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Russian engineers hoped to test out a new fast-track approach to dock with the orbiting research outpost less than three-and-a-half hours after liftoff, a record-fast rendezvous for the International Space Station program.

Progress MS-07 will be delivering some 2.7 metric tons of food and supplies to the space station's Expedition 53 crew.

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