The Russian cargo ship Progress has failed to successfully dock with the International Space Station (ISS) during tests designed to facilitate future linkups, the US and Russian space agencies said on Tuesday.
"The re-docking of the Russian ISS Progress 47 resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station has been postponed due to an apparent failure in the new Kurs-NA rendezvous system," NASA said in a statement on its website.
A spokesman for the Russian Mission Control Centre confirmed to AFP that the cargo ship known as Progress M-15M had failed to dock, without providing further details.
The docking was to have taken place at 0158 GMT, the Russian Mission Control Centre said.
NASA said the cargo ship was now at a safe distance from the ISS and the next docking attempt could take place Saturday or Sunday after the scheduled arrival of the Japanese HTV-3 cargo ship on Friday.
"The next earliest attempt at a docking would be no earlier than Tuesday, pending Russian analysis of the problem," NASA said.
"Progress 47 flew approximately 1.8 miles below the station to a safe distance away from the orbiting outpost, where it will remain until another attempt is made to re-rendezvous with the space station."
The vehicle had undocked from the station on Sunday to perform tests to faciliate future dockings of cargo ships to the space station.
Russia's space programme has been beset by a litany of technical problems which have resulted in the loss of a half dozen satellites and vehicles over the past year, including a Progress cargo vessel bound for the ISS.
There are currently six people on the space station, which orbits 350 kilometres (about 220 miles) above the Earth and is permanently occupied by international researchers.
American Sunita Williams, Japan's Akihiko Hoshide and Yury Malenchenko of Russia joined Russians Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and US astronaut Joseph Acaba at the orbiter earlier this month.
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