Spaceflight Now


Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.

Mission extended for three space station residents

Posted: September 1, 2011

Bookmark and Share

Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut living aboard the International Space Station are scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 16, leaving the outpost with a three-person crew until Russia can resume crewed launches of the grounded Soyuz rocket.

NASA astronaut Ron Garan, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev and space station commander Andrey Borisenko. Credit: NASA
Space station commander Andrey Borisenko, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev and NASA flight engineer Ronald Garan will crawl into their Soyuz TMA-21 capsule Sept. 15, undock from the complex and parachute back to Earth to a landing zone in Kazakhstan.

Touchdown is expected early Sept. 16, U.S. Eastern time, or in the mid-morning hours at the Kazakhstan landing site.

Borisenko, Samokutyaev and Garan will wrap up approximately 165 days in orbit since launching April 4. The trio reached the space station two days after liftoff.

Space station managers delayed the Expedition 28 crew's return from Sept. 8 in the wake of the launch failure of a Soyuz rocket last week with an unpiloted Progress resupply ship bound for the orbiting lab. The mission extension will allow the space station to continue functioning with a full six-person crew an extra week, freeing up more time for scientific research.

Russian engineers traced the Aug. 24 failure to an anomaly in the Soyuz rocket's third stage RD-0110 engine.

The Progress mission used a Soyuz-U rocket, which employs the same third stage as the Soyuz-FG rocket used launch manned spacecraft. Officials say the Soyuz rocket won't launch another crew until Russia completes its investigation, implements corrective actions and conducts test flights of the rocket with unmanned payloads.

Astronaut Michael Fossum, Russian flight engineer Sergei Volkov and Japanese flier Satoshi Furukawa will remain aboard the space station until mid-November.

Russia plans to launch the next three-person crew on a Soyuz rocket before Fossum's crew returns to Earth, assuming officials finish their investigation and a pair of unmanned launches go as planned.

If the Soyuz rocket is unable to ferry another crew into space by mid-November, NASA says the space station will probably be temporarily abandoned until the next set of astronauts arrive.

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.

STS-133 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!

Anniversary Shuttle Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.

Mercury anniversary

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.




© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.