Launch of Soyuz 2.1a with Progress MS-07 scrubbed seconds before liftoff
Less than a minute before it was to take to the skies to deliver the Progress MS-07 cargo freighter to the International Space Station, an unknown issue with the Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle prompted a rare scrub for the Russian space agency’s workhorse rocket. Liftoff was expected at 5:32 a.m. EDT (09:32 GMT) Oct. 12, 2017, from Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Had the rocket launched, the unpiloted Progress spacecraft was to test out a new two-orbit rendezvous profile to arrive at the space station in about 3.5 hours. Instead, the cargo ship will utilize a longer two-day, 34-orbit profile if it flies during its next opportunity, which is expected to be no earlier than 4:46 a.m. EDT (08:46 GMT) Oct. 14, 2017. This assumes the cause of the scrub is found and addressed before then.
“No reason for the launch delay has yet been given,” said mission commentator Rob Navias on NASA TV. “That information will be provided by Roscosmos in due course.”
Up until the abort, the countdown proceeded with no reported issues. At about 35 seconds before the scheduled liftoff, the first of two umbilical towers retracted, as planned. The second, smaller tower was supposed to retract at about the 12-second mark, which triggers the launch ignition sequence. That did not happen. As such, the engines did not ignite.
Progress MS-07 will be delivering some 2.7 metric tons of food and supplies to the space station’s Expedition 53 crew. Once it launches to and rendezvous with the orbiting laboratory, the vehicle will line up and dock with the Earth-facing Pirs docking compartment on the Russian orbital segment of the outpost.
Video courtesy of Space Videos
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.