‘Russian Soyuz rocket will transport astronauts to ISS again from December’

NASA boss Jim Bridenstine said at a meeting in the US that the next astronauts for the ISS will go into space in December. On October 11, there was a Soyuz rocket accident and all launches have been cancelled.

According to Bridenstine, researchers have “a very good idea” of what went wrong during the October 11 accident, Ars Technica writes, among others. Bridenstine says they are getting very close to the point where the problem is even better understood so that it can be launched again with confidence. On October 11, the Soyuz spacecraft with two astronauts had to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan, minutes after launch.

Bridenstine gave no further details, but Russian media has previously speculated that there was a problem with one of the boosters mounted on the side of the rocket. One of these boosters is said to have been incorrectly attached to the rocket and hit it during its repulsion, triggering the cancellation of the launch.

Before astronauts with Soyuz rockets go to the ISS again in December, Russia wants to carry out three more launches. If those all go according to plan, the first astronauts can go up again from December 20.

The Soyuz rockets have been the only way to get to the ISS for some time now. In principle, this dependence on Russia will decrease significantly from 2019, as two American private companies must then have alternatives ready. It concerns the Crew Dragon capsule from SpaceX and the Starliner capsule from Boeing. The first unmanned test flight with the Crew Dragon will take place in January, followed by the Starliner two months later.