The Soyuz-2.1a rocket on its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan after an aborted countdown Thursday. Credit: TsENKI TV/Roscosmos
The launch of a Soyuz rocket with a Progress refueling and resupply freighter was aborted seconds after liftoff Thursday in a rare scrub for Russia’s workhorse rocket, delaying the start of a journey to the International Space Station until at least Saturday and thwarting plans to test out a new automated fast-track rendezvous sequence.
The three-stage Soyuz booster was scheduled to take off at 0932:03 GMT (5:32:03 a.m. EDT), an instantaneous launch opportunity calculated to allow the Progress MS-07 supply ship make an expedited three-and-a-half hour trip to the space station.
But the countdown was halted before ignition of the Soyuz rocket’s main engines, and the launch time came and went without liftoff. One of two retractable arms detached from the rocket in the final minute before launch, but the second umbilical connection, which normally pulls back around 15 seconds prior to liftoff, remained attached to the Soyuz booster.
Russian space officials confirmed the abort and said that the launch will not occur Thursday, but they did not release any immediate information on the cause of the scrub, according ...