Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Space Agencies Agree on New Schedule for ISS Spacecraft Traffic

The Soyuz TMA-15M vehicle has been docked to the Rassvet module since it carried NASA astronaut Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to the International Space Station in Nov. 2014. Credit: NASA

NASA and its international partners agreed Tuesday to set a new schedule for spacecraft traffic to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The partner agencies agreed to adjust the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency's (Roscosmos) preliminary findings on the recent loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact dates have not yet been established, but will be announced in the coming weeks. Roscosmos expects to provide an update about the Progress 59 investigation on Friday, May 22. The return to Earth for NASA's Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is targeted for early June. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka will remain aboard the station to begin Expedition 44.

The next Russian cargo craft, Progress 60, will launch in early July to deliver several tons of food, fuel and supplies. The space station has sufficient supplies to support crews until the fall of 2015.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 44’s Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will launch in late July from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The date of SpaceX’s seventh resupply flight under its commercial resupply services contract with NASA still is under review but remains targeted for no earlier than June 19. The mission will deliver to station additional supplies and research that improve life on Earth and drive progress toward future space exploration. It also will deliver the first of two international docking adapters, which will enable future commercial crew vehicles to dock to the orbiting laboratory.

Additional 2015 space station-related launch dates also are under review.

Credit: NASA

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