Russia to keep its promise of launching four Soyuz manned spaceships in 2011
Moscow, August 29 (Interfax-AVN) - Russia plans two more launches of Soyuz manned spaceships to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011 despite the failure of the Progress M-12M freighter, a source in the aerospace industry told Interfax-AVN.
"We have the task of launching Soyuz TMA-22 and Soyuz TMA-03M this year," he said.
It was planned initially to launch Soyuz TMA-22 on September 22 and Soyuz TMA-03M on November 30. "Now, we are considering the launch of the first spaceship in mid-November and the second one in December," he said.
Soyuz TMA-22 will take aboard Russia's Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA's Daniel Burbank. Soyuz TMA-03M will be carrying Oleg Kononenko of Russia, Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands and Donald Pettit of the U.S.
A Soyuz-U rocket carrying Progress M-12M blasted off Baikonur on August 24. The freighter failed to reach the orbit because of a breakdown of the third stage engine. Fragments of the third stage and the freighter fell over Altai.
Soyuz-U and Soyuz-FG rockets, which carry Progress and Soyuz spaceships to space, have the same third stage engine, RD-0110. Hence, the launch of Soyuz TMA-22 is delayed for the period of the investigation.