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First manned launch in 2019 may be postponed from March 1 to early April

The first launch was initially scheduled for March 1

KHIMKI /Moscow region/, January 18. /TASS/. This year’s first launch of a manned spaceship that was originally scheduled for March 1 may be postponed to early April, chief of Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday.

"After the October 11, 2018 developments (an abortive launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket - TASS), we had to revise this schedule. And despite the fact that the first launch was scheduled for March 1, we jointly with the American will probably postpone it to a more acceptable date. I don’t rule out that it will not take place in March and will be postponed to early April," he said.

According to Rogozin, the launch’s possible postponement stems from the necessity to ensure a longer flight for US astronaut Nick Hague so that Roscosmos could concurrently implement its contract liabilities to other partners, in particular, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It was reported earlier that UAE’s first astronaut is to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) this year.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch were originally scheduled to be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 1, 2019, onboard the Soyuz MS-12. Ovchinin and Hague had to arrive to the ISS back in October 2018, but failed to reach the station due to the abortive launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket on October 11.