Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia Delays Missions to and From Space Station

Russian Soyuz TMA-02M space ship that will carry new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, is transported from hangar to the launch pad at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan (File Photo - June 5, 2011)

Russia's space agency has announced that it will delay the return of three crew members from the International Space Station and postpone the launch of three new crew members after an unmanned supply ship crashed last week.

Alexei Krasnov, the head of Russia's manned spaceflight program, said Monday the return of three astronauts from the space station will be pushed back from September 8 to about the 16th. The next mission, which will carry three new crew members to the space station will launch in late October or early November, instead of September 22.

The unmanned Soyuz craft, which was supposed to bring supplies to the space station, failed about five minutes into its August 24 flight and crashed in Russia's Siberia region. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, says two unmanned flights using the Soyuz rockets will be launched before sending the next crew to the space station.

If the space station cannot be resupplied by the end of November, it is possible the station will be left unmanned.

The retirement of the U.S. space shuttles has made Russian spacecraft the main supply link to the International Space Station.