International Space Station supply mission from Russia crashes

Roscosmos says spacecraft crashed minutes after launching from Russia

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Social media reports of an explosion over Russia rolled in Thursday soon after contact with the spacecraft headed to the International Space Station with supplies was lost.

The Russian space agency said a malfunction caused the cargo ship to crash minutes after launching.

Roscosmos said in a statement that the Progress MS-04 cargo craft crashed at the altitude of 118 miles over the remote Russian Tyva region that borders Mongolia. It says most of the space ship's debris burnt up as it entered the atmosphere.

Russian media reported a large explosion six minutes after the Progress MS-04 cargo craft lifted off as scheduled at 8:51 p.m. from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It was set to dock with the space station on Saturday.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos said that the transmission of data from the ship cut off 383 seconds after the launch. It added that experts are looking into the cause of the glitch.

NASA reported in a live broadcast that the ship's navigational antennas have apparently been deployed, but there has been no solid confirmation that the Progress' solar panels have fully unfolded.

This is the fourth time in less than two years that a supply mission has not made it to the Space Station, the second Russian supply mission. U.S. based Orbital ATK and SpaceX lost supply missions in 2014.

The ship was set to deliver 2.6 metric tons of fuel, water, food and other supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

NASA confirmed the Space Station residents, astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, Russians Sergey Ryzhikov, Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy, and Thomas Pesquet from the European SpaceAgency, are all safe.

Supplies and food levels are good, according to the space agency.

A Japanese supply mission is scheduled to launch to the Space Station on Dec. 9.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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