July 19, 2005

Space Station Crew Moves Russia Spacecraft

MOSCOW (AP) -- The crew of the International Space Station moved a Russian spacecraft from one part of the orbiting complex to another Tuesday in a maneuver designed to make space walks easier, a Russian official said.

Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and U.S. astronaut John Phillips undocked the Soyuz TMA-6, which had brought them to the station in April, from the Pirs docking module, said spokeswoman Vera Medvedkova.

About 25 minutes later, the two re-docked the capsule with the Zarya module, used mostly for storage, about 45 feet away, she said.

The crew encountered a brief obstacle as they prepared to undock, when a sensor malfunctioned. The two then had to enter the orbiting station then return to the Soyuz capsule before continuing.

The two were scheduled to re-enter the station later Tuesday, she said.

The maneuver, designed to give the crew more room when they leave the station to make space walks, had been scheduled for August, but Russian officials pushed it up after the launch of the space shuttle Discovery was delayed on July 13. On Monday, U.S. officials put off the launch for at least another week.

Russian spacecraft have been the only way to get crews and cargo to the station since the U.S. shuttle fleet was grounded following Columbia's catastrophic re-entry in 2003.


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