A Russian resupply spacecraft bound for the International Space Station has apparently failed to reach its intended orbit after a rocket failure following launch this morning.
Russian mission controllers just informed members of the station's six-person Expedition 28 crew that the Progress 44 ship may not have separated from the upper stage of a Soyuz rocket nearly six minutes into flight.
Russia's Mission Control Center in Korolev has attempted to regain contact with the spacecraft, "unfortunately in vain," the head of the MCC said, according to a translator on NASA TV.
"This is it for the moment. We'll try and figure out what has happened, what the cause was," he said.
"Thank you," replied Andrey Borisenko, the station commander. "This is very important that you let us know so quickly. Thank you from the entire crew."
The rocket failure reportedly occurred 5 minutes and 50 seconds after a 9 a.m. EDT launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The spacecraft carried nearly three tons of fuel, water, oxygen and supplies and was expected to dock at the station Friday morning.
Chris Edelen, the station flight director at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, told team members the status of the Progress was "not good" and it should be assumed lost, according to NASA TV.
NASA has not immediately commented on the failure's impact on station resupply or an upcoming launch of a Soyuz spacecraft with the next station crew, including NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, planned Sept. 21.
Mike Suffredini, NASA's International Space Station program manager, will hold a news conference to discuss the situation at noon Eastern time.
The launch was the first to the station since last month's final shuttle mission. That mission delivered more than 9,000 pounds of food and equipment.
IMAGE: Above, on April 29 this year, an unpiloted ISS Progress resupply vehicle approached the International Space Station carrying equipment and resupply items for the Expedition 27/28 crew. Progress 42 docked to the station's Pirs docking compartment at 10:28 a.m. EDT. Credit: NASA. Below, a NASA TV screen grab of this morning's Progress launch.