Russia cancels space lab flyabout

March 1, 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 install Italian-built module at space lab

Related Stories

NASA postpones Discovery launch to mid-December

November 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

February 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

January 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

Solar-powered rover approaching 5,000th Martian dawn

February 16, 2018

The sun will rise on NASA's solar-powered Mars rover Opportunity for the 5,000th time on Saturday, sending rays of energy to a golf-cart-size robotic field geologist that continues to provide revelations about the Red Planet.

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

February 15, 2018

Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm - once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal - is shrinking out of existence as seen ...

Kepler scientists discover almost 100 new exoplanets

February 15, 2018

Based on data from NASA's K2 mission, an international team of scientists has confirmed nearly 100 new exoplanets. This brings the total number of new exoplanets found with the K2 mission up to almost 300.

0 comments

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.