The return of three International Space Station (ISS) astronauts, originally scheduled for later this week, has been delayed to early June, due to the recent failure of the Russian cargo spacecraft, U.S. space agency NASA said Tuesday.
NASA and its international partners agreed to adjust the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s ( Roscosmos) preliminary findings on the recent loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft.
“The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is targeted for early June,” NASA said in a statement.
“The exact dates have not yet been established, but will be announced in the coming weeks.”
The launch of the next Russian cargo craft, Progress 60, has also been delayed until early July. NASA noted that the ISS has sufficient supplies to support crews until the fall of 2015.
The next manned mission is now scheduled for late July to launch Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the ISS using Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.
The date of SpaceX’s seventh resupply flight under the space firm’s commercial resupply services contract with NASA is also under review but remains targeted for no earlier than June 19, the U.S. space agency said.
The Progress 59, launched by a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on April 28, failed to dock with the ISS after suffering a communications failure. Last Friday, the spacecraft burned up upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Roscosmos is expected to provide an update about the Progress 59 investigation on May 22. Enditem