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US-Russia Rocket Glitch in Space Delays Astronauts En Route to ISS

| 26 Mar 2014 14:34
ISS

A rocket carrying American and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station experienced a failure in its orientation system which has prevented it from docking.

Early Wednesday morning, a Soyuz rocket launched from Kazakhstan, carrying a crew of one American and two Russian astronauts. Bound for the International Space Station (ISS), a maneuver intended to alter its orbital path to dock with the ISS failed to work "as planned."

Oleg Ostapenko, the head of the Roscosmos Russian space agency, said that the problem was caused by a failure of the ship's orientation system. While the astronauts are not said to be in any danger, their six hour flight has been delayed significantly, with their next docking opportunity likely to be 23:58 GMT on Thursday. Until then, the ISS will remain understaffed, with a crew of three.

Ever since it retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011, the US has relied on Russia to fly its astronauts to the ISS. Given the political climate in light of Russia's annexation of Crimea earlier this month, concerns about future cooperation may seem natural. Still, for the time being, the two countries are continuing to work together on the space program, as they have since the end of the Cold War. At a press conference before the rocket launch, the astronauts said they would treat dinners aboard the space station "as an opportunity to come together as friends in the kitchen and look each other in the eye."

Source: BBC News

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