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There are 4 major spacecraft that can supply the ISS. Progress, Dragon, ATV, and Cygnus. Of these 4 spacecraft, only the ATV has not had an issue in the last 8 months. ATV has stated they will not launch any further vehicles. Bottom line is, every spacecraft that resupplies the ISS has had an issue such that it seems like they just can't launch at this moment. Will this cause problems getting supplies to the ISS?

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    $\begingroup$ European ATV has done its job. Now they evolve the service module of it for use with the Orion. You probably mean the Japanese HTV, launching to ISS later this year. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Jun 29 '15 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ The ATV contract has ended. If ESA were to decide to help out, they'd have to build an ATV from scratch, I'd be very surprised if they could do that in under 6 months. The Russians and SpaceX are in a better position to supply a new spacecraft soon. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jun 29 '15 at 13:24
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You forgot HTV, the Japanese vehicle that has a fairly large payload.

It has a planned flight Aug 15, 2015. There are several more HTV flights planned on the manifest.

Progress is due to fly again with cargo in early July 2015. Assuming the Russian space agency is able to resolve its issues that will help with the supply situation.

Cygnus flying on Atlas V is due to fly in December of 2015.

Assuming SpaceX can resolve their flight issue they had flights booked for September and December 2015.

There are issues, but they should be able to work out. With 4 providers (Cygnus, Dragon, HTV, Progress) it should be assumed at least one will succeed. Now would be a great time for ESA to spin back up ATV production and come in as the white knight and save the day! (I know how hard it would be, long lead items, etc but they are putatively developing the the Service Module for Orion based on the ATV already anyway.)

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    $\begingroup$ "it should be assumed at least one will succeed" I don't think that's how space travel works. $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 29 '15 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ @LightnessRacesinOrbit Agreed. But Orbital, SpaceX, and Roscosmos are all actually good at this stuff. That they have issues/make errors is alas, normal, so between three of them, at least one can be bet on to succeed. Odds are good. All three faling forever is very unlikely. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Jun 29 '15 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ That's more like it. :) Just don't make it sound like it's a done deal ;) You can't make any assumptions with this stuff. $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 29 '15 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ I've seen a return to space seems to take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on how things go, after an incident. I didn't know about HTV, I guess that's because they are relatively recent. Thanks for the info! $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jun 29 '15 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ There is a progress 59 mission launching July 3rd on the older Soyuz-U vehicle. The recent resupply mission that failed was on the newer Soyuz 2.1a $\endgroup$ – T.J. Tarazevits Jun 29 '15 at 20:33
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The Chinese might come to help with their Long-March launcher and Shenzhou spacecraft, which is very similar to the Soyuz spacecraft so it should be compatible. Only Russia and China launch humans to orbit these days, so that is the obvious short-term option I think.

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    $\begingroup$ Erm, no not by a long shot. NASA is prohibited by Frank Wolf's P.L. 113-235 act to spend a penny on dialogue or any other activities with China and that is still in effect despite the recent bilateral government meetings establishing grounds for dialogue (but not by NASA, yet). See spacepolicyonline.com/news/… Besides, there's a Soyuz / Progress 60P launch in 4 days. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Jun 29 '15 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave Policy is flexible. The little I know, seems like it looks technically possible to use Shenzhou. If US/NASA's choice is the ISS or Russia, then Chinese spaceflight might become an interesting third alternative. I imagine it. Long shot maybe. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Jun 29 '15 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ Policy is flexible in time frame nobody has got the time to wait for it to flex. And with republicans now in charge in Senate, House et al., it would have to flex forward with back to China, which simply won't happen. Anyway, there's House CSST Subcommittee on Space hearing announced for July 10 regarding the status of the ISS, so we shall see how flexible they are prepared to be. There's more chance (and still pretty much zero) that they'd ask ISRO since they invited them to propose ISS cooperation model. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Jun 29 '15 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure I understand why NASA needs to be spending a penny on anything. ISS is by definition an international operation. Do the US republicans think they can somehow ban the Chinese from visiting an international station? $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 29 '15 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ @LightnessRacesinOrbit China is not a partner in ISS. And NASA can't spend a penny on Chinese cooperation because that act is tied with their budget that goes both through House and Senate for approval. US president merely proposes NASA's budget and what it would be spent on, then it's up to a fairly convoluted process what actually comes out of it. So yes, if China sent their taikonauts to ISS and it wouldn't be a rescue effort (as per UNOOSA Rescue Agreement) or agreed with ISS partners, it would be against Outer Space Treaty and the non-interference act. I.e. it would be considered hostile. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Jun 29 '15 at 18:50

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