Cargo spaceship

The Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz 2-1A rocket (Photo courtesy TsENKI. All rights reserved)

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has officially given up hope of taking control of the Progress M-27M spacecraft. The attempts to contact it made on Tuesday and Wednesday had no success. Yesterday the docking to the ISS was called off and then the cargo spacecraft has been declared lost. The consequence is that it will fall into the atmosphere with no control disintegrating with all supplies it’s carrying.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at the beginning of its CRS-6 mission blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket (Photo NASA)

A few hours ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-6 (Cargo Resupply Service 6) mission, also referred to as SPX-6. This is the 6th of 12 missions that for the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with a cargo and its return to Earth, again with a cargo.

Artistic concept of the Jupiter space tug and the Exoliner cargo module with the service robotic arm near the International Space Station (Image courtesy Lockheed Martin. All rights reserved)

Lockheed Martin has announced plans of its own private spaceship that will be among the contenders for the next contract for cargo supply to the International Space Station for NASA called Commercial Resupply Services-2 (SRC-2). The company proposes a solution more sophisticated than its competitors’ because it’s not simply a cargo spaceship but a combination of a reusable space tug, called Jupiter, and a cargo module called Exoliner.

The Orbital ATK spacecraft Cygnus during its Orb-1 mission and the SpaceX spacecraft Dragon during its CRS-5 mission (Photo NASA)

A NASA spokesman announced that the agency decided to extend the CRS (Commercial Resupply Services) contract with SpaceX and Orbital ATK for transporting cargo to the International Space Station. The additional missions are planned for 2017 and are intended to cover NASA’s needs until the new contract, called CRS 2, will be awarded. This extension provides three more missions for SpaceX spacecraft Dragon and another mission for the Orbital ATK spacecraft Cygnus.