Russia plans first manned space mission since rocket failure


Russia plans first manned space mission since rocket failure
FILE PHOTO: The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the U.S. and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

The first manned mission to the International Space Station since a Russian rocket failed to launch earlier this month may take off on December 3, space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday.

A Russian cosmonaut and U.S. astronaut were forced to abort their mission on Oct. 11 and perform an emergency landing after a launch accident that Roscomos said was caused by a faulty sensor.

The accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launch pad explosion.

Sergei Krikalyov, a senior Roscosmos official, was quoted by state news agency TASS as saying the next manned launch had been planned for mid-December, but that Russia was trying to bring the date forward so that the ISS is not briefly left without a crew.

The three-person crew may return home on Dec. 20, he was quoted as saying.

“The industry is making significant efforts to move the launch to Dec. 3 so that the station does not switch to autopilot mode, and landing is expected around Dec. 20,” he said.

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