Russia cancels space lab flyabout

Mar 01, 2011

A plan for Russia's Soyuz capsule to fly around the International Space Station and take pictures of the US shuttle Discovery and other global spacecraft was deemed too risky, NASA said Tuesday.

"It was kind of a late proposal that we do this," largely because the US shuttle was delayed from its initial November launch plan due to technical problems, said NASA spokesman John Ira Petty.

"The Soyuz that is attached to the station that would have been used is a new type of Soyuz and they (the Russians) were reluctant to add this extra activity," said Petty.

"The risk of failure would have seen three new crew members going home earlier than scheduled," he said, adding that NASA understood and backed the Russians' decision.

Meanwhile, NASA decided to extend the shuttle's mission to the ISS by one day, with a return to Earth now set for March 8, and completed the installation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module on the underside of the lab.

"The extension day will be devoted to emptying the Permanent Multipurpose Module and moving supplies between Discovery and station," NASA said in a message on the microblogging site Twitter.

A first spacewalk to install preparations for the storage module was completed Monday.

The shuttle blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on February 24, on its final mission into orbit before entering retirement. Discovery is the first of three US shuttles set to become museum pieces later this year.

Endeavour is to lift off on April 19 followed by Atlantis on June 28, marking the official end of the US space shuttle program after 30 years.

The Discovery shuttle's mission now will last 12 days, with a second planned for Wednesday.

Explore further: Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts install Italian-built module at space lab

Mar 01, 2011

Astronauts at the orbiting International Space Station on Tuesday installed a permanent Italian-built storage module, while Russia nixed plans to fly around and take pictures of the crowded lab.

NASA postpones Discovery launch to mid-December

Nov 24, 2010

NASA on Wednesday postponed until mid-December the launch of the space shuttle Discovery on its last trip to the International Space Station after cracks were found in its external fuel tank.

Discovery to dock with International Space Station

Feb 26, 2011

The US space shuttle Discovery was poised to reach the International Space Station on Saturday as part of its final mission, carrying a new module and a robot to the orbiting research lab.

NASA sets final space shuttle mission for June 28

Jan 20, 2011

Despite budget uncertainties, NASA on Thursday announced plans to send the space shuttle Atlantis on the final mission of the US program June 28, after which the famed fleet will be retired.

Recommended for you

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

3 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

Nov 26, 2014

The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into the earth's atmosphere—and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results ...

Team develops cognitive test battery for spaceflight

Nov 26, 2014

Space is one of the most demanding and unforgiving environments. Human exploration of space requires astronauts to maintain consistently high levels of cognitive performance to ensure mission safety and success, and prevent ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.