Soyuz MS-02 launch delayed for technical reasons

 The flight of Soyuz MS-02, which will carry NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, center, and Andrei Borisenko to the International Space Station has been postponed. Photo Credit: Victor Zelentsov / NASA

The flight of Soyuz MS-02, which will carry NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, center, and Andrei Borisenko to the International Space Station has been postponed. Photo Credit: Victor Zelentsov / NASA

The next crewed flight to the International Space Station, Soyuz MS-02, has been postponed “for technical reasons after tests at the Baikonur Space Center,” according to the Roscosmos State Corporation.

The flight was scheduled for a Sept. 23 launch and subsequent two-day rendezvous with the orbital outpost.

This vehicle is the second of the newly upgraded Soyuz MS variant. Soyuz MS-01, which launched July 7, was also postponed due to a technical issue. In its case, there were flaws in the control system that could have affected a successful docking to the ISS. However, the flaws were fixed, and the spacecraft docked without flaw July 9.

For Soyuz MS-02, Roscosmos has not officially revealed what the technical issue was. However, according to RIA Novostri, an industry source said a test identified a short circuit.

“Preliminary data revealed that a short circuit occurred while testing the new series Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft, docked to a carrier rocket, at Baikonur,” the source said. “The date of the new launch will be announced later, but the launch is unlikely to take place before the beginning of October, 2016.”

Soyuz MS-02, when it does launch, will send Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough to the ISS for a roughly six-month stay at the orbital complex.

After docking with the station, the trio will join the crew of Expedition 49 currently aboard the station. Russian cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins launched aboard Soyuz MS-01.

The new crew arrival will increase the station's crew complement back to six. However, the size increase may be short-lived as the Soyuz MS-01 crew is expected to land back on Earth Oct. 30. This will once again decrease the crew count to three.

The crew count will again increase a couple weeks later when Soyuz MS-03 launches with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson.

Whether or not the MS-02 delay will affect the departure of MS-01 or launch of MS-03 is unclear.

Recently, two other ISS visiting vehicle flights have been delayed. The Japanese Kounotori cargo ship was postponed from its Oct. 1 launch due to a pipe leaking. Additionally, the OA-5 Cygnus, which will launch atop an upgraded Antares 230 rocket, was also delayed to October for an unspecified reason.

While a delay has not been officially announced, SpaceX's CRS-10 Dragon cargo capsule was slated to launched in November. However, due to the Sept. 1 Falcon 9 launch pad explosion, that mission will likely slip. How long will depend on the results of the ongoing investigation into the cause of the failure.

NOTE: While this article was written by Derek Richardson, it was originally published at SpaceFlight Insider. Feel free to head over there to read all the stuff they write about!

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Derek Richardson

I am a space geek who loves to write about space.

My passion for space ignited when I watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on October 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, I soon realized that my true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.

Currently, I am a senior at Washburn University studying Mass Media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism. In addition to running Orbital Velocity, I write for the Washburn Review and am the Managing Editor for SpaceFlight Insider.