Russia delays ISS launch for 'technical reasons'

Mar 14, 2011
The International Space Station. Russia is delaying the planned launch of three astronauts to the International Space Station on March 30 due to a technical problem with the spacecraft.

Russia announced a delay Monday in the planned launch of three astronauts to the International Space Station on March 30 due to a technical problem with the spacecraft.

The Soyuz launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is of huge importance to Russia as it comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight by Yuri Gagarin on April 12.

The Soviet-era Soyuz system will provide the world's only link for human travel to the ISS after the US shuttle programme closes in the coming months.

Any problems with Soyuz spacecraft or rockets could pose a serious challenge to international space exploration.

The Russian Federal Space Agency said in a statement that a fault with one of the Soyuz capsule's systems had been uncovered in testing and that the launch would be delayed "until a later date".

Various news reports said the launch may now take place between April 7 and 10.

The delay was announced just two weeks after a top government official accused the space agency of committing "childish" errors that included the loss of three satellites in December.

RIA Novosti said the latest malfunction affected a switching system that allowed the crew to communicate with ground control.

"We have formed a task force involving the developers and producers as well as the parent organisation of the manned flight programme, RSC Energia," the space agency statement said.

Russia named the March 30 mission in honour of Gagarin, the pioneering cosmonaut whose historic space flight at the height of the Cold War is still feted as one of the country's most important achievements.

The mission will include the Russians Alexander Samokutyayev and Andrei Borisenko as well as NASA astronaut Ronald Garan.

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts dock at International Space Station

Dec 22, 2009

A Russian rocket carrying three astronauts from Japan, Russia and the United States docked at the International Space Station Wednesday, the Russian flight control centre said.

Recommended for you

SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

4 hours ago

The SpaceX company returned to orbit Friday, launching fresh supplies to the International Space Station after more than a month's delay and setting the stage for urgent spacewalking repairs.

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

4 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

6 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

7 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

10 hours 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 ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...