ISS Crew Launch Delayed: Soyuz MS-02 Spacecraft Faces Technical Problems
The launch of the Soyuz MS-02 spaceflight, which was supposed to transport three members of Expedition 49 crew to the International Space Station (ISS), has reportedly been delayed. The Russian Space Agency (RosCosMos) cited technical reasons as the reason for the delay of the Russian-made spacecraft from taking off on the flight on September 23, as was originally planned.
"Roscosmos has decided to move the launch of Soyuz MS-02 ship planned for September 23 due to technical reasons after holding tests on the Baikonur Cosmodrome," a Roscosmos official stated. In addition, NASA also announced the delay of the ISS crew launch in a brief press release and referred to the Roscosmos website for further information. According to a source, the Soyuz MS-02 spaceflight will now take off on November 1, however, the new launch date is still not definite.
Expedition 49 comprises of six members, the three new members who are supposed to join and the three members who continued from the previous expedition, as is the protocol of every ISS expedition. The new batch members include NASA's Shane Kimbrough, as well as Russian cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and Sergei Ryzhikov. The trio of astronauts is reportedly in the final stages of their training at Kazakhstan's Baikonur launch pad.
Incidentally, the three astronauts from Expedition 48 got back on Earth on the scheduled date of September 7, aboard the Soyuz TMA-20M. The three returning astronauts comprised of members Jeffrey Williams, Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin. The spacecraft landed in Kazakhstan, the site for the launches and landing.
At the moment, the continuing members of Expedition 48-49 are aboard the ISS, waiting for the arrival of the new team. The three astronauts who are at present onboard the space laboratory include NASA's Kathleen Rubin, Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin. The trio is currently handling all the scientific experiments performed on the ISS as well as manning it.