Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Mar 18, 2011
The launch of the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft carrying members of a new crew to the International Space Station has been tentatively scheduled for April 5, a source at the Baikonur Space Center said on Thursday.
The new crew with Russians Alexander Samokutyayev and Andrei Borisenko, and U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan are expected to arrive at Baikonur on March 21, the source said.
"The preliminary date for the launch is April 5, around 4 a.m. Moscow time and a reserve date is April 7," he said, adding that crew training is due to start on March 22.
A final decision on the launch date is to be made by the Russian space agency Roscosmos at a board meeting set for Friday.
Roscosmos said Monday it had postponed the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS due to technical problems.
The launch of the TMA-21 was originally scheduled for March 30.
earlier related report
The readjustment is necessary to ensure the best conditions to dock Russia's Soyuz TMA-21 piloted spacecraft and the U.S. Endeavor space shuttle.
"The maneuver will be conducted using the two main engines on board the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-2), named after Johannes Kepler," the Mission Control said in a statement.
The ATV-2 docked with the ISS on February 24. It will stay in orbit for three months, and will be used mainly to adjust the station's orbit.
Corrections to the space station's orbit are conducted periodically before launches of Russian spacecraft and U.S. shuttles to compensate for the Earth's gravity and to safeguard successful dockings.
Russia's Soyuz TMA-21 is expected to travel to the ISS sometime in early April, while the U.S. Endeavor will blast off from Cape Canaveral on April 19.
Source: RIA Novosti
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