Russia sends food and supplies to International Space Station to bail out US after ship blows up

A previous Progress launch got lost in space, and a follow-up by SpaceX blew up last week

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The Independent Tech

Russia has launched a new Progress ship into space, after two previous attempts to re-supply the International Space Station saw catastrophic problems.

A similar Soyuz rocket was launched in April, but something still unknown went wrong and left the capsule floating around space until it felt back to Earth and burnt up. Then an attempt to re-stock the lost supplies by Elon Musk’s SpaceX was also hit by problems, and blew up minutes after launch.

The newest Russian ship blasted off in a launch with no problems, and is making its way safely to the ISS, according to reports.

It is carrying 2.4 metric tons of fuel, oxygen, water, food and other supplies, according to the Russian space agency. Some of that is to replace the supplies lost in the previous mishaps.

The station remains well-stocked despite having missed out on months of supplies, according to Nasa.

But launching the rocket successfully had been crucial, since it will later be relied on to bring astronauts back down to Earth. The deployment of the next ISS astronauts — which will use the same Soyuz rocket that sent the supply capsule up to the ISS — has been delayed as Russian authorities look to find what caused the problems in April.

The two high-profile difficult launches came after a run of difficulties for space travel, especially among the US private companies that are hoping to take over such launches from Nasa. The delays left some astronauts stuck in space — leading to them accidentally breaking records during their long stay.

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