The first post-shuttle era launch of a Russian Progress re-supply ship for the International Space Station has apparently failed. Controllers at the mission control center in Korylov lost contact with the ship six minutes into the flight. This is the first time since 1978 that this normally reliable ship has failed to deliver its cargo to space, and this could have dire consequences for the space station program. If the ship cannot be recovered and docked to the ISS, not only are the supplies lost, but planned re-boosts of the ISS in its orbit will not occur. This could also affect future Progress — as well as Soyuz launches for crew exchange — until the cause of the failure is known. Without the space shuttle, the Soyuz is the only way to bring humans to the space station.
UPDATE: The Russian cargo spaceship Progress M-12M has reportedly crashed to Earth in eastern Russia, Interfax is now reporting, saying that the crash did not cause any destruction on the ground as it fell in an unpopulated area in the Choisk region of the Republic of Altai.
Well, this is a promising start, isn't it?