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Home / Science / NASA administrator tells Russians on the track for December Soyuz flight to the station – Spaceflight Now

NASA administrator tells Russians on the track for December Soyuz flight to the station – Spaceflight Now



HISTORY FOR CBS NEWS WRITTEN AND USED WITH PERMISSION

NASA Administrator Jim Briddentine speaks at a National Space Council meeting in Washington on Tuesday. Credit: NASA / Aubrey Gemignani

Russian engineers have a "really, really good idea" about what went wrong with a Soyuz launch to the International Space Station on October 11, forcing the crew's two-man crew to make an emergency stop Said the administrator of NASA Jim Briddentine on Tuesday. He added that he expected the Russians to return to piloted Soyuz flights in December.

"While our astronaut and cosmonaut are safe at home, they are not happy," Briddens said during a National Space Council meeting chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. "They want to be on the International Space Station and they can not wait to go again, we are grateful for their enthusiasm, NASA is regrouping, we are re-planning and we are getting ready to go again."

Soyuz MS-10 commander Alexey Ovchinin and NASA flight engineer Nick Hague were forced to cancel their start as one of the normally reliable The four first-stage rockets of the Soyuz FG booster apparently crashed two minutes after takeoff during the Separate into the base of the second-tier core vehicle.

The Soyuz crew ship's computer recognized the problem and fired thrusters to quickly pull the ship off the broken missile. Ovchinin and Hague landed about 250 miles from the launch site. But the demolition dropped a wrench in the station's carefully planned crew rotation schedule, and while Ovchinin and Haag are expected to fly again, it is not yet known when.

Of more immediate concern is NASA, the Russians and their international partners. The Soyuz rocket will be evacuated to continue the flights. A Russian "state commission" investigating the disaster is expected to report its results towards the end of the month.

Similar versions of the rocket are planned for flight in the coming weeks to launch a polar weather satellite from Kourou in French Guiana, a Progress Space Station supply ship from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and a Russian navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

All of these missiles use identical or similar first-stage separation systems, and if all three of these flights run well, Russia could move on to the next launch of a space station crew on December 3.

"We have a series of Russian Soyuz rocket launches over the next month and a half, and in December we expect our crew to set up a Russian Soyuz rocket to launch back to the International Space Station," Bridenstine said. "We have a very, very good idea of ​​what the problem is, and we are very close to understanding it better so we can start again with confidence."

"It is important to note that this is The start was probably the most successful launch imaginable. "

Hague and Ovchinin had hoped to join expedition commander Alexander Gerst, Serena Auñon chancellor and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev aboard the station and his teammates were launched aboard the spacecraft Soyuz MS-09 last June and originally planned to return to Earth on December 13.

Three New Crew Members – Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA Astronaut Anne McClain – They were expected to launch on December 20 and board the laboratories at Ovchinin and Haag.

A Soyuz rocket lifts on 11th. October from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Two minutes after launch, a rocket failure triggered an emergency landing of the two-headed crew aboard. Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls

Now, because of the crash, the Russians have to start Kononenko's team prematurely. Starting in the first week of December, the new crew will have time to perform an orderly handover before helping Gerst and his crewmembers around December 20. Orbit Certification

With the departure of Gerst, Auñón-Chancellor and Prokopyev, the Kononenko crew will keep the station until April when another Soyuz crew will be ready to launch is.

The original timetable was Oleg Skripochka Christina Koch of NASA and a guest astronaut of the United Arab Emirates on April 5. The UAE astronaut would then have returned to Earth about 10 days later with The Hague and Ovchinin. Thanks to the departure, it is not yet known who will fly to the station next spring or how the flights will be sequenced.

NASA plans to launch the launch of a Northrup Grumman Cygnus cargo ship in mid-November. In mid-November, an Antares booster from Virginia followed, followed by a SpaceX Dragon supply ship on a Cape Canaveral Falcon 9 rocket in December.

Two NASA outboard missions to install a second set of batteries for the space station's solar power system are on hold, but will likely be completed after Kononenko's crew arrives in December.

A Russian spacewalk from Prokopyev and Kononenko to visit the Soyuz MS-09 ferry is likely to be carried out during the team transfer period in December. A small leak in the spacecraft was found and repaired in September, and Russian engineers wanted to find out how large the damage might have been and whether it had been caused by a deliberate action at one point during the craft's processing


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