Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roscosmos plans to return three ISS crew members on Sept 16

Three crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) will return to Earth on Sept. 16.

This is later than previously scheduled due to a failed launch of the Progress cargo vehicle, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said Wednesday.

"There is no any danger for the ISS crew.

The crew possesses everything it needs for work," Roscosmos deputy head Vitali Davydov said during a television link between Moscow and Astana, the Interfax news agency reported.

Davydov said two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronauts would be sent back to Earth.

The official also promised that the launches of the Proton and Soyuz carrier rockets, which have been temporarily suspended due to the recent accidents, would not be postponed for a long time.

A Progress M-12M cargo ship failed to reach orbit Aug. 24 after the engine of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket turned off during the ascent. Following this incident, Russia decided to delay the launch of the next manned spaceship to the ISS.

Besides, Russia would not abandon the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, even after completion of the construction works at the new Vostochny launch site in Russia, said Davydov.

"There are no plans to abandon Baikonur. We have an agreement (with Kazakhstan) on using that space center until 2050," he was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

Located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, Baikonur cosmodrome was originally built by the Soviet Union in 1955 and is currently leased by the Kazakh government to Russia until 2050.

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