Spaceflight Insider

Soyuz MS-02 launch now targeted for October 19

Expedition 49 NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, center, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos answer questions from the press outside the Soyuz simulator ahead of their Soyuz qualification exams, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. The trio will fly to the ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft.

Expedition 49 NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, center, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko answer questions from the media outside the Soyuz simulator ahead of their Soyuz qualification exams, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. The trio will fly to the ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Russia has re-scheduled the launch of the Soyuz MS-02 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), setting Oct. 19 as the new launch date. The spacecraft assigned to transport the three Expedition 49 crew members to the orbiting lab are scheduled to lift off atop a Soyuz-FG launcher, at 4:03 a.m. EDT (8:03 GMT), from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

“It is planned that the primary and backup crews depart for the launch site on October 7. The launch is scheduled for October 19, 11:03 Moscow time (08:03 GMT),” a source in the Russian rocket and space industry told TASS.

The start of the Soyuz MS-02 mission was initially targeted for Sept. 23 but was delayed due to a technical malfunction – a burned cable inside the spacecraft. Last week, the Roscosmos State Corporation announced that the launch would be rescheduled for Nov. 1. It was decided to send the crew back to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow to continue training until the new launch date gets closer.

Soyuz MS-02 will be the second mission of the upgraded Soyuz-MS spacecraft. The crew for this mission consists of NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko.

The first Soyuz MS spacecraft, designated Soyuz MS-01, had also suffered an anomaly that delayed its launch. The MS-01 mission, which transported Russian cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins to the ISS, was postponed from June 24 to July 7, due to a malfunction in the spacecraft’s system of traffic guidance.

Developed by RKK Energia, the seven-metric-ton Soyuz MS spacecraft is a modified version of the Russia’s flagship Soyuz TMA crewed vehicle that is the sole means of access to the ISS.

Some of the modifications incorporated into the Soyuz MS include an improved position control engine and a GLONASS/GPS system. The spacecraft also has a new approach and docking system, a new computer, and more power-efficient solar panels.

 

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Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

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