'We will fly again': Nasa to keep using Russia's Soyuz despite failure
Space 'We will fly again': Nasa to keep using Russia's Soyuz despite failure
After Russian-American crew made emergency landing, chief of US space agency predicts return to flight by December
Nasaâs chief has praised the Russian space programme and said that he expected a new crew to go to the International Space Station in December, despite a rocket failure.
Jim B ridenstine spoke to reporters at the US embassy in Moscow a day after a Soyuz rocket failure forced Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff in Kazakhstan. The pair escaped unharmed.Rocket launches to be grounded while mid-air failure is investigated Read more
âI fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule,â the Nasa administrator said.
It was the first such incident in Russiaâs post-Soviet history - an unprecedented setback for the countryâs space industry.
The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is currently the worldâs only lifeline to the International Space Station and the accident will affect both Nasa and the work of the orbiting laboratory.
Bridenstine, who is visiting Russia and Kazakhstan for the first time since his appointment as Nasa chief this year, observed th e launch from Baikonur cosmodrome with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Rogozin.
Appearing at times emotional, he said he was âconfidentâ a new manned mission to the International Space Station would go ahead as planned in December, praising the âwonderful relationshipâ between the Russian and US space agencies.
âNot every mission that fails, ends up so successful,â he said.
The next Soyuz launch had been scheduled to take a new crew to the ISS on December 20.
Russia said it was likely to bring forward the flight of a new manned space mission, but postpone the launch of a cargo ship scheduled for 31 October.
âWe will try to bring forward the launch of a new crew,â said Sergei Krikalyov, executive director of the Russian space agency and veteran cosmonaut.
All manned launches hav e been suspended and a criminal probe has been launched.Space crew abort flight after post-launch rocket failure Read more
When asked about the accident, US president Donald Trump said that he was ânot at all worriedâ that Americans had to rely on Russians to go to space.
Krikalyov said that âin theoryâ the International Space Station which serves as a scientific lab could remain unmanned but added Russia would do âeverything possible not to let this happenâ.
A space walk planned for mid-November has also been cancelled, he said. The crew had planned to examine a hole in a Russian spacecraft docked at the orbiting station.
Thursdayâs aborted launch was a huge embarrassment for Moscow, which has touted plans to send cosmonauts to the Moon and Mars.
The Kremlin said experts were working to determine what caused the rocket failure.
âIt is impossible to draw any conclusions now,â said President Vladimir Putinâ s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.Nasa casts doubt on Russian theory ISS air leak was sabotage Read more
Ovchinin and Hague have returned to the Star City training centre outside Moscow where they will be under medical observation for two days.
Officials said the two felt fine and did not need any treatment. The NASA chief said he had spoken to Hague who he said was in high spirits despite the ordeal. âHe was very funny,â he said.
Industry experts say the countryâs space industry has suffered so many mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft that a serious accident during a manned mission was simply a matter of time.
The failed launch earned scathing criticism from the usually pliant Russian media.
âThe breakup of the Soyuz,â Kommersant broadsheet said in a frontpage headline.
But the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta also said the astronauts survived thanks to the reliability of the Soviet-era rocketâs rescue syste m, which returned them safely to Earth despite the launch failure.
But it added that Russiaâs state space industry probably could not be saved âin its current formâ.Topics
- The space shuttle
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