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Roscosmos denies setting up special group to study option of crewless space station

The Russian space agency said that the issue of the station’s deactivation is not being considered
The International Space Station NASA
The International Space Station

MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. The state commission set up by Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos to probe the abortive Soyuz booster launch has never established any special group to study the option of deactivating the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos told TASS on Saturday.

"The state commission has not established any group for the issues of deactivating the ISS. This information has nothing to do with reality. The issue of the station’s deactivation is not being considered," the Russian space agency said.

Some media outlets reported earlier that the state commission probing the Soyuz booster launch incident had set up a special group to study the option of leaving the world’s sole orbiter crewless.

Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Programs Sergei Krikalyov said on Friday that the International Space Station might be left without a crew and leaving it unmanned was a stipulated option but specialists would try to avoid this scenario. "Theoretically, the ISS can be left without a crew. An unmanned mode is stipulated. We will do everything possible to prevent this because the station was created for manned flights. The procedure to deactivate the station is prescribed but it is undesirable and we will try to avoid it," Krikalyov said.

Soyuz launch incident

A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, at 11:40 a.m. Moscow time. On board the spacecraft were Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin (the commander of the Soyuz MS-10) and NASA astronaut Nick Hague.

Following a smooth liftoff, the Soyuz’s booster malfunctioned between the first and second stages of separating, whereupon the crew was forced to abort the flight and switch to ballistic descent. The manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft ended up landing in the Kazakh steppe.

The press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported that rescuers recovered the crew from the descent capsule. Later, the crewmembers were examined and found to be in good condition. After their medical check-up in the town of Baikonur, the astronauts were transported to Moscow.

This is the first emergency landing with this type of carrier rocket over the past 35 years.