by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Jan 27, 2012
Russia is set to pospone the next two manned launches for the International Space Station (ISS) for several weeks due to technical problems with the Soyuz spaceship, an industry source told Interfax Friday.
The source told Interfax that the Soyuz TMA-04M vessel had not withstood tests to its pressure chamber ahead of the planned mission on March 30 and the first flight would be postponed to mid-April or the first half of May.
"This re-entry capsule now cannot be used for manned spaceflight," the source said.
That mission would fly with the re-entry capsule that was due to go up on the next mission on May 30 and as a result that mission would also likely be postponed to the middle or end of June.
The re-entry capsule goes inside the spacecraft and is the portion that eventually returns the astronauts to Earth when the mission is over.
Russia now has sole reponsibility for taking US and other international astronauts to the ISS following the withdrawal of the US space shuttle but its own space programme has been hit by a string of problems in the last months.
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Russian cargo vessel takes off for space station
Moscow (AFP) Jan 26, 2012
The Russian cargo ship Progress M-14M was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Thursday, bringing water and fuel to the International Space Station, the mission control centre said. Progress was successfully launched at 05:06 Thursday (2306 GMT Wednesday) carrying some 2.6 tonnes of mainly water and fuel, Russian news agencies cited the Russian control centre as saying. ... read more
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