August's Russian rocket failure is unlikely to force evacuation of the International Space Station

Back in August, Russia's Progress 44 cargo vessel ran into complications on its delivery to the International Space Station, falling to Earth after the Soyuz-U rocket propelling it into space failed unexpectedly.

For weeks there's been concern over the similarity of the Soyuz-U to the Soyuz-FG, the rocket used to lift manned spacecraft to the International Space Station. If Russian engineers were unable to identify the cause of the Soyuz-U's failure, future manned missions to the ISS would likely have to be put on hold, and could even have forced astronauts to evacuate the Space Station.

Fortunately, NASA told members of the US House of Representatives yesterday that the cause of failure has been identified.

"NASA's confident that our Russian partners identified the most likely failure cause and has a sound return-to-flight plan," Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's human exploration and operations directorate, told members of the House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

You can read more about the malfunctioning rocket and the review undertaken to assess its failure over at
Image of ISS via NASA