International Space Station Resupply Craft Crashes Over Russia

An unmanned Russian resupply mission headed towards the International Space Station came plummeting back down to Earth with three tons of equipment, food, and fuel shortly after liftoff.

At 325 seconds into its flight, one stage of the Soyuz-U rocket shut down and the Progress M-12M spacecraft fell back to Earth over Russia.

It's a terrible time for a mission failure. The Shuttle is done and private resupply missions by SpaceX aren't up and running yet. Moreover, it might mean that the crew aboard the ISS has to stay up longer than expected if the cause of the rocket failure can't be sussed out before September 22, when a replacement crew was due to go up.

Since Soyuz is the only game in town, the BBC notes that it could mean that the crew aboard the ISS might even have to be reduced. Toilet parts, for example, could be a problem, which makes sense if you've ever seen all the gear needed for an astronaut to go to the can in orbit. [BBC via Steve Silberman Image: NASA]