September 23, 2008

Roscosmos Rules Out Another Ballistic Descent of Iss Crew

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax-AVN) - The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) has done its best to prevent another ballistic descent of the cosmonauts returning from the International Space Station in October, Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov said at a meeting with the next ISS crew.

"From the technical point of view, I do not see any worry that a third ballistic descent could happen," he said.

The ballistic descents from the orbit of the Soyuz TMA-10 and the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft occurred in October 2007 and in April 2008, respectively.

A ballistic descent is different from a normal one in that the spacecraft is heading towards the Earth like a falling body, with the crew experiencing high gravity loads and landing within hundreds of kilometers from the designated site rather than directly on target.

The ballistic descent of the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft in April this year was the result of a pyro-bolt malfunction, Perminov told journalists later.

"The reason was earlier assumed to be due to the failure of an explosive bolt," he said.

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