Just weeks after the U.S. space shuttle program was terminated, making us dependent on Russia to send payloads into space, Americans have been given reason to second-guess the decision.
A Russian rocket launched recently was intended to carry nearly three tons of supplies to the six astronauts, including some Americans, on the International Space Station.
But something went wrong. The rocket crashed into Siberia.
Astronauts aboard the space station face no immediate peril. According to NASA, they have enough supplies to last until next spring.
But the crash will have immediate consequences. There were plans to rotate the current space station crew home and replace them next month - using the very same Russian rocket that went down this week. Until the cause of Wednesday's crash is determined and corrected, that flight is off.
When the U.S. space shuttle program was terminated, on President Barack Obama's orders, we and many others expressed concern about relying on Russian - or perhaps Japanese or European - rockets to service U.S. satellites and the space station.
At the time we worried about reliance on other nations that might not have U.S. best interests at heart. And, of course, the cost of paying others to handle our work in space is a consideration.
So is safety, as the crash last week makes clear.
Terminating the shuttle program before NASA has a replacement ready was a mistake. What happened recently does nothing to change that assessment.