Keeping a Tight Ship After Cargo Crash

Aug. 25, 2011


Sorry so long without writing! It has been really busy in a mostly great way. We have settled into a routine of cranking through the weeks – keeping the space station running, ramping up the science, and learning how to get some really cool sequences of night photos I can’t wait to show you. We recently commented on how we could see what life will be like up here in the post-Space Shuttle era. Today, however, we get a curve ball thrown at us when a Russian Progress cargo ship had a failure during launch and didn’t make orbit. In other words, it crashed.


You probably know more about this than we do tonight.


There was no crew on the cargo ship, so apparently no loss of life and that’s a very good thing.

We lost some cargo and supplies, but are pretty well stocked thanks to Atlantis and the STS-135 crew, so this isn’t a serious setback.

The bigger deal right now is the fact that the booster system (i.e., “rocket”) for the Soyuz spacecraft (which is now the only way to get crew to the space station) shares many components with the one used on the cargo ship which failed today.


In short, uh oh.

With very little knowledge of what went wrong, we have to be very careful before strapping another crew in for launch.


What this means for us immediately is we are as safe as you can be living 240 miles above the planet while orbiting at 17,500 mph! Our rockets worked perfectly during launch, got us into orbit and to the ISS. It seems fairly certain the failure which occurred is related to launch. We don’t use the same huge rockets for the ride home, so there is no reason to worry about a problem with us getting home safely.


To make a long story just a little bit longer, we’re fine. We have a mission to accomplish: We’ll stay focused on taking care of this amazing international outpost and getting as much science accomplished as possible. As always, the ones who take the emotional brunt of this kind of deal are the loved ones waiting for us at home.


You’ll hear from me again soon – I promise! In the meantime, here’s a single photo to whet your appetite. It was taken over Central Europe looking south down the length of Italy. I have a few thousand more.

Central Europe from ISS


In the meantime, thanks for your prayers and stay tuned. This is going to continue to get interesting!


Living the Dream!


-Mike Fossum



One thought on “Keeping a Tight Ship After Cargo Crash”

  1. Keeping you all in mind and wishing for the best. Thanks for your ongoing inspiration…caught your press conference a few weeks back with the school kids and was just so happy to hear their questions. I taught Earth & Space Sciences for 17 years before moving to school administration and I so miss getting to spend my days talking about the topics you covered that day….it’s just the best. I live vicariously through you now, as you’re “Living the Dream”….keep up the excellent work! Huge fan and supporter!

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