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: Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

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

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

1 hour ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

A full-spectrum Mars simulation in a box

2 hours ago

There are many reasons why Mars excels at destroying expensive equipment. For one thing, its entire surface is made of partially-magnetized dust. For another, Mars possesses just enough atmosphere so that ...

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

Proposed Mars 'Icebreaker' mission detailed

2 hours ago

Scientists supported by the Astrobiology Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) and Astrobiology Instrument Development Programs (ASTID) have outlined the proposed 'Icebreaker' mission to Mars in a recent ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.