MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. Russia’s government commission has made a decision to postpone the launch of the manned Soyuz MS spacecraft to the International Space Station from June 24 till July 7, the state-run space corporation Roscosmos has said.
"For enhancing the safety of the newly modified spacecraft Soyuz MS’s flight to the ISS it has been decided to carry out more tests of software. The state commission has made a decision to launch the Soyuz FG rocket carrying the Soyuz-MS spacecraft till 04:36 Moscow time on July 7, 2016," the Roscosomos press-service has said.
The launch of another cargo spacecraft, Progress MS, has been delayed, too. Originally it was due on July 7. Now it has been scheduled for July 17.
Earlier, a source in the space rocket industry told TASS there was a possibility the launch of Soyuz MS may have to be postponed. He explained that specialists advised against hurrying with the launch as there was the risk of a glitch in the control system and problems while docking the new series spacecraft to the ISS.
The Soyuz MS is to deliver to the ISS Russia’s Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA’s Kathleen Rubins and Japan’s Takuya Onishi.
The State Commission has decided not to put off the return of a Soyuz-TMA-19M spaceship with 3 ISS crew members onboard to Earth from June 18 to a later date, Roscosmos said.
"Soyuz TMA-19M is to land at 12:12 Moscow time on June 18, 2016," the press service said.
A number of media outlets reported earlier that the ISS crew could be asked to extend their stay at the station because of a possible delay of the launch of a new manned spaceship Soyuz-MS. But a source in the Russian rocket and space industry told TASS that experts had recommended not to postpone the ISS crew’s return.
Soyuz TMA-19M will take Russian Yuri Malenchenko, American Timothy Copra and Briton Timothy Peak back to Earth.