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Communication With Progress 44 Lost After Launch

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

image Mission Control Moscow reported that communication with the Progress 44 cargo craft was lost 5 minutes, 20 seconds after its launch at 9 a.m. EDT today. Preliminary data from the Russian Federal Space Agency indicate there was a problem with the propulsion system, and that the vehicle did not reach its desired orbit.

International Space Station Program Manager Michael Suffredini will hold a news conference on NASA Television at noon EDT.

Just after 11 a.m., Mission Control Moscow radioed a report to the crew on board the station:

"At 1300 (GMT), we lifted off, following 320 seconds of flight there was a failure in the upper stage of the launch vehicle. We lost comm(unications) after a while with the launch vehicle and we did not report stage separation," said Maxim Matuchen, the head of the Russian Mission Control Center.

"In the previous comm(unications) pass we attempted to contact the vehicle through every possible channel. Orbital monitoring telemetry and we have just finished our second comm(unications) pass where we invoked all of the communications facilities. We sent commands to activate the comm(unications) pass on board, unfortunately it failed."

"Understood," replied Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko.

"This is it for the moment, we'll try to figure out what has happened and what the cause was. I just wanted to keep you informed."

"Thank you for letting us know so quickly," Borisenko added. "Thank you from the entire crew."

Progress 44 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome into a cloudless sky at 7 p.m. Kazakhstan time bound for the International Space Station and a docking on Friday. At the time of launch, the space station was flying 230 miles over Equatorial Guinea on the west coast of Africa. The spacecraft is carrying 2.9 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the space station.

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