Russian Federation targets Dec 3 date for first manned ISS launch after accident

Russian Federation targets Dec 3 date for first manned ISS launch after accident

Russian Federation targets Dec 3 date for first manned ISS launch after accident

Two astronauts made emergency landing in Kazakhstan after failure of Soyuz rocket on October 11.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday it hopes to resume manned missions with a three-person launch to the ISS on 3 December.

A failed Russian Soyuz rocket launch three weeks ago that aborted after just two minutes was caused by a sensor that was damaged during assembly, according to an official investigation. The failed launch involved an older Soyuz-FG rocket, which is "in principle the same rocket" as used in last week's launch but has less engine power in the third stage, space expert Konstantin Kreidenko told AFP.

Aboard the next manned spacecraft will be Canadian David Saint-Jacques, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Agence France-Presse reported.

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The trio had originally been scheduled to blast off on December 20.

Ovchinin and Hague returned safely back to Earth in their capsule, and are likely get their chance to go to the space station in the spring, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin has said.

The crew is set to include Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was originally scheduled to fly to the station December 20 on a six-month mission.

They had initially been scheduled to land on December 13 after their stint on the ISS, a joint project of the space agencies of America, Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada. The Soyuz is now the only rocket that is capable of sending humans to the ISS and a launch failure hasn't happened since 1983.

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Meanwhile, an unmanned Progress cargo ship will blast off to the ISS on November 16 after its launch was postponed from October 30 due to the accident investigation, Krikalyov said.

Krikalyov blamed a "malfunction" of the sensor separating the first and second stages of the rocket for the problem and said that efforts were being taken to ensure the safety of future flights.

The findings of an official investigation into the incident were presented at a press conference on Thursday.

Igor Skorobogatov, who headed the inquiry, said on Thursday that the issue was linked to the "deformation" of a sensor part.

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Krikalyov on Wednesday reiterated Roskosmos's earlier statements saying that the malfunction was caused by a collision of the first and second stages of the rocket during the first stage separation.

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