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Astronauts Stuck at ISS After Russian Launch Failure

Image: Astronauts Stuck at ISS After Russian Launch Failure
(NASA via Getty Images, file)

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 10:02 AM

Three astronauts are stuck on the International Space Station (ISS) for another month while space officials in Russia examine what went wrong with the rocket that attempted to send cargo there last month.

Russian engineers are trying to determine what went wrong after an initial investigation showed that the third stage of the Soyuz launcher separated too early, which could mean a problem with the system that pressurizes that stage's motor fuel tanks, Discovery News reported.

That means Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti, and Anton Shkaplerov will be forced to extend their residency that began in November, according to Time magazine. The Soyuz ship that brought them to the International Space Station remains docked there.

The Russian space capsule was delivering 2.6 tons of goods to the space station, which included oxygen, water, propellant, clothing, spare parts, and spacewalk hardware, according to Time.

"The next Russian cargo craft, Progress 60, will launch in early July to deliver several tons of food, fuel, and supplies," read a statement from NASA. "The space station has sufficient supplies to support crews until the fall of 2015. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 44's Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will launch in late July from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan."

NASA reported that a resupply flight by commercial space company SpaceX is set for June 19. The mission will deliver additional supplies to the station and research to assist with future space exploration, according to NASA.

"If Virts, Cristoforetti, and Shkaplerov are disappointed at the postponed homecoming — and how could they not be when it’s been six months since they've eaten a steak, tasted a beer, or felt anything other than a fan-driven, climate-controlled breeze on their faces — they wouldn't let on publicly," Jeffrey Kluger, of Time magazine, wrote. "That's not in the nature of ISS crews who sign on for long hauls with always-conditional return dates."

The group remains on the space station with Scott Kelly, who is scheduled to establish a record one year in space as part of a NASA experiment with his Earth-bound twin brother and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly to determine long-term effects of space on the human body.

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Three astronauts are stuck on the International Space Station (ISS) for another month while space officials in Russia examine what went wrong with the rocket that attempted to send cargo there last month.
astronaut, stuck, iss, russia, rocket
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2015-02-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 10:02 AM
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