Saturday, October 15, 2011

Space Station probably won't have to evacuated

A panel of experts told U.S. lawmakers on October 12 that the International Space Station likely won't have to be evacuated due to the failure of a Soyuz rocket launching a Progress cargo craft to the orbiting lab.

A Russian investigating commission pinpointed the likely problem as contamination in fuel lines in the third stage of the Soyuz.  An independent NASA team agrees with that assessment.

The finding clears the way for another progress launch on October 30 and a crewed Soyuz launch on November 14.  The current three person crew on the ISS is scheduled to return to earth on November 22. That time frame would keep the orbiting outpost staffed, giving the new three-person crew about five days to learn the ropes from the departing space flyers.

If that launch gets delayed, the station would be completely de-staffed for the first time in more than a decade. But that wouldn't spell disaster for the orbiting lab, the panelists said.  The station can be flown remotely from Mission Control for a time.

Source: Fox News: