Recent loss of Russia’s Progress 59 spacecraft has forced US space agency NASA and its international partners to rework the schedule of bringing back three astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Though the dates for the return of NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov haven’t finalised yet, NASA and its partners have agreed to bring back the astronauts by early June. The decision was arrived at after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) preliminary findings on the recent loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft.
The exact dates will be announced in coming weeks after Roscosmos provides an update about the Progress 59 investigation tentatively on Friday, May 22.
Russia will be launching its cargo craft, Progress 60, sometime in early July bringing with it several tons of food, fuel and supplies. Currently the ISS has sufficient supplies to support crews until the autumn of 2015. Post the cargo run, ROSCOSMOS is scheduled to ferry Expedition 44’s Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
NASA further revealed that it is currently reviewing SpaceX’s seventh resupply flight under its commercial resupply services contract and it won’t launch than June 19. SpaceX resupply mission is set to carry additional supplies and research that improve life on Earth and drive progress toward future space exploration.
The resupply mission will also be delivering the first of two international docking adapters, which will enable future commercial crew vehicles to dock to the orbiting laboratory.