MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos will replace the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft, originally scheduled to be launched to the International Space Station on March 27, with its twin in the series having a different serial number, the space corporation’s press-service said, adding that the decision had no technical reasons behind it.
"The crew of the ISS 51/52 space expedition, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer, will go to the ISS by spacecraft N. 735, and not N. 734. The replacement is not related with any technical issues," the press-service said.
A source in the space rocket industry said that spacecraft No. 734 had been built on Russia’s budget money, and No. 735, under a contract with NASA.
"The replacement is related with the execution of contracts for delivering crews to the ISS," he said.
Earlier, some media said the spacecraft’s replacement was due to technical problems allegedly exposed as the Soyuz MS-04 underwent testing at Baikonur.