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Flooding delays return of Soyuz spacecraft

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Moscow, April 3, 2009
Flooding in Kazakhstan has delayed the return of a Soyuz spacecraft from the International Space Station, the Russian agency Roscomos said Friday.

The Soyuz TMA-13 is scheduled to land Wednesday, a day later than planned, and further northeast in Kazakhstan, where spring floods inundated the original landing site on the Kazakh steppes, RIA Novosti reported.

The spacecraft is carrying U.S. astronaut Michael Fincke, Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov and U.S. space tourist Charles Simonyi,

A Russian Soyuz TMA-14 carrying Simonyi, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and U.S. astronaut Michael Barratt docked with the space station on March 28. Padalka and Barratt are to remain on the station for six months.

US space tourist gets extra day in orbit: agency
US space tourist Charles Simonyi's return to Earth has been delayed one day, the Russian space agency said Friday, after a report that the landing site had been changed due to boggy ground.

Simonyi's return from the International Space Station in a Soyuz capsule was pushed back from April 7 to 8 after the initial landing site was found to be unsuitable, said space agency spokesman Alexander Vorobyov.

"The vessel will land on April 8 at around 11:00 Moscow time (0700 GMT) northeast of Dzhezkazan, in Kazakhstan," Vorobyov told AFP.

The Interfax news agency, citing a source familiar with the situation, had reported earlier that the initial landing site was rejected after specialists visited it and had trouble leaving when their helicopter got stuck in the mud.

Vorobyov declined to comment on the specific reasons why the landing site had been changed.

Simonyi -- a Hungarian-born former Microsoft executive who paid 35 million dollars (28 million euros) to fly into space -- is to land with US astronaut Michael Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov.

He blasted off last week from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, becoming the first space tourist to return to orbit for a repeat visit.

Simonyi's debut trip to space was in April 2007.

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Russian ship with tourist docks with space station after glitch
Moscow (AFP) March 28, 2009
A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying second-time space tourist Charles Simonyi along with a US and a Russian astronaut docked Saturday at the International Space Station, media reports quoted the control centre near Moscow as saying.







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