March 16, 2011

Soyuz Launch Delayed Until April

A communications issue centered around a faulty transistor has delayed the launch date for a Russian-American crew who plan on rocketing to the International Space Station (ISS). The new date will be set some time in early April.

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) tells Reuters that the launch was postponed from March 30.  Roscosmos director Anatoly Perminov said on Tuesday that he hoped to have the crew in orbit before the April 9 anniversary of man's first space flight.

April 12 marks the 50th anniversary of Soviet space pioneer Yuri Gagarin's flight, the first human to successfully orbit the Earth. Russia is planning on holding celebrations of the historic flight.

"You cannot simply replace the transistor. You need to find out why it went out of order, and you need to check this transistor and the whole theory of such transistors before taking a decision about the launch," Perminov told Reuters.

NASA has relied exclusively on Russian Soyuz craft for space station crew transport since late 2009 and is retiring its shuttle fleet after two more scheduled flights this year,. The delay leading to increased concerns about relying solely on Roscosmos for maintaining and servicing the ISS.


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