MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. The launch of the next expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) may be carried out on December 3 and the return of the current ISS crew to Earth, on December 20, the executive director of Roscosmos for manned programs, Sergei Krikalyov, said on Wednesday.
"The original plan was the current crew will return in the middle of December and the next one will replace it shortly afterwards. In order to avoid shifting the ISS to an unmanned mode the industry is exerting considerable efforts to make the launch possible on December 3, while the landing is expected around December 20," Krikalyov told a special meeting timed for the 55th anniversary of the Biomedical Problems Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Currently the ISS has a crew of three - Roscosmos’s Sergei Prokopiev, NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor and the European Space Agency’s Alexander Gerst. The next crew - Roscosmos’s Oleg Kononenko, NASA’s Ann McClain and Canadian Space Agency’s David Saint-Jacques - was to go to the ISS in late December, but the aborted launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket on October 11 required amendments to the timetable.