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NEW YORK, September 16 (Itar-Tass) ——The International Space Station (ISS) partners have agreed to a tentative launch schedule with crew flights to the ISS resuming on November 14, NASA said.
“The Space Station Control Board, with representation from all partner agencies, set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s findings on the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo craft. The dates may be adjusted to reflect minor changes in vehicle processing timelines,” it said.
Russian Federal Space Agency head Vladimir Popovkin disclosed the new launch schedule at the Friday press conference, which followed the successful landing of the Soyuz TMA-21 spaceship.
“Our top priority is the safety of our crew members. The plan approved today, coupled with the conditions on orbit, allow the partnership to support this priority while ensuring astronauts will continue to live and work on the station uninterrupted,” said International Space Station Program Manager Michael Suffredini. “Our Russian colleagues have completed an amazing amount of work in a very short time to determine root cause and develop a recovery plan that allows for a safe return to flight. We'll have a longer period of three-person operations and a shorter than usual handover between the next two crews, but we are confident that the crews will be able to continue valuable research and execute a smooth crew transition.”
“According to the current plan, the Soyuz 28 spacecraft, carrying NASA's Dan Burbank and Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov, will launch November 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and arrive at the station on November 16,” NASA said.
“On November 22, Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov will undock their Soyuz 27 spacecraft and land in the northern Kazakhstan landing zone. Expedition 30 Commander Burbank, Ivanishin and Shkaplerov will work as a three-person crew for 36 days. The remainder of the Expedition 30 crew -- NASA's Don Pettit, Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Europe's Andre Kuipers -- will launch to the station aboard the Soyuz 29 spacecraft on or about December 26 and dock to the station two days later. The exact launch date is under review
“The control board also received a report on the status of supplies and spare parts aboard the station. The report shows there is sufficient logistical supplies to support crews through the summer of 2012 without deliveries from the scheduled cargo flights,” NASA said.
The question popped up after the failed launch of Progress M-12M to the ISS on August 24. The Federal Space Agency explained the accident with the clogging of the fuel pipe of the gas generator of the engine of the third stage of the Soyuz-U launch vehicle.