A faulty radio link forced an unmanned Russian cargo ship to abort its docking at the International Space Station on Friday, U.S. and Russian space officials said.
The glitch between the two vehicles occurred about 25 minutes before the Progress ship was due to automatically park itself at a berthing slip on the station's Russian Zvezda module.
Instead, Progress floated past the station at a safe distance of about 2 miles (3 km), said NASA spokesman Rob Navias, adding that the six-member Russian-American crew was never in any danger.
Interfax quoted the station's commander, cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, as telling Russian mission control that the Progress was "spinning uncontrollably" before disappearing from view.
But Russian space agency deputy head Vitaly Davydov later said the ship was not out of control.
"The Progress ship and the international space station are in working order and reliable communication with them is being maintained," Davydov said on state-run Rossiya-24 television.
The Progress M-06M blasted off on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, packed with 2.5 tonnes of cargo including fuel, food, water, equipment and spare parts for life-support gear.
At the time the radio link was lost, the station commander was trying to activate a backup docking system aboard the space station, NASA said.
Russian flight controllers did not know what impact, if any, the manual docking system setup had on the communications equipment.
No additional docking attempts will be made for at least two days, the space agencies said.
The ship was the 38th Progress vehicle sent to the orbiting space station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations.
In addition to Skvortsov, the station's crew includes cosmonauts Mikhail Korniyenko and Fyodor Yurchikhin, and NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Shannon Walker.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 03 Temmuz 2010, 10:04