Russia to Resume Crew and Cargo Missions to ISS

Russia to Resume Crew and Cargo Missions to ISS

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has announced a schedule for resuming cargo and crew flights to the International Space Station (ISS).

According to the Russian press service RIA Novosti, the next Progress cargo spacecraft will launch on October 30, followed by a Soyuz crew mission on November 12, then another Soyuz crew mission on December 20, and another Progress on January 26, 2012.

The Russians determined that the Progress M-12M failure was “accidental” and caused by a clogged fuel line. The investigating commission recommended additional control procedures.

If the announced launch dates are met, the ISS would not have to operate temporarily in an unoccupied mode. Three of the six ISS crew will return to Earth tomorrow (CDT, Thursday, EDT and at the landing site in Kazakhstan). The other three are scheduled to return on November 16. A Soyuz crew launch on November 12 would mean docking on November 14 and two days to hand over operations from one crew to the next. The date for the November 16 landing is determined by the lifetime of the Soyuz spacecraft that will take them home. It is already docked to the ISS and has an on-orbit lifetime of about 200 days, so the crew must return at that time. NASA and Roscosmos had considered the possibility of destaffing the ISS if the Soyuz rocket, which lofts both the Progress cargo spacecraft and the Soyuz crew spacecraft, could not be recertified quickly.

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