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MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. The launch of the Soyuz TMA-17M manned spacecraft scheduled for May 26 may be delayed because of contingency with the Progress M-27M, a source at the Baikonur spaceport told TASS on Wednesday.
"Several elements of the Progress are similar to those of the manned Soyuz. In particular, the close-up and docking navigation system Kurs is the same at both spacecraft. It is not ruled out that the launch of Soyuz with new ISS crew may be postponed," the source said.
A working group has been set up at Baikonur to investigate the reasons behind Progress’ emergency. "However, final conclusions about the reasons behind the unsuccessful launch will be made by specialists from Moscow," the source said. "According to preliminary reports, difficulties occurred during separation of the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket," he added.
A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress M-27M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan at on Tuesday morning. After its separation from the rocket, the Mission Control Centre said no telemetry was available. A source in the space industry told TASS that two antennas of Progress’s docking system Kurs had failed to unfold. Soon it turned out that the spacecraft itself had entered an undesignated orbit due to a mishap in one of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket’s stages.
Russia’s Mission Control Center failed to get telemetric data from the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft during its first communication session on Wednesday, a rocket and space industry source told TASS. "The attempt was unsuccessful," the source said, adding that the centre would make other attempts to get telemetry from the spacecraft during the day.
TASS reported on Thursday that Russian specialists on Wednesday were expected to use a remote control mode of operation in order to stop the spacecraft’s erratic rotation.
The launch of Soyuz TMA-17M is scheduled May 26. The spacecraft will deliver new crew to the ISS, including Oleg Kononenko from Roscosmos, Kimiya Yui from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Kjell Lindgren from NASA.