Russia Delays Next Crew Launch to Space Station

A large outer casing for the top of a rocket is inspected while suspended horizontally.
The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft, originally scheduled to bring three new crewmembers to the International Space Station Sept.23, 2016. The launch has now been delayed for unspecified technical reasons. (Image credit: NASA via Flickr)

Russia has delayed the next scheduled crew launch to the International Space Station for technical reasons, according to a very brief report from Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

The report, posted Saturday (Sept. 17), stated that the Soyuz MS-02 launch has been postponed after tests at the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, the rocket's launch site. The launch was originally scheduled to bring NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko up to the station on Sept. 23.

The Soyuz craft is currently the only crewed spacecraft able to deliver people to the International Space Station. This would be the second launch of a Soyuz version (Soyuz MS) that has a number of upgrades; the first such launch brought three people to the station in July.

Sputnik reported that a space industry source told the Russian news site RIA Novosti that the delay was due to a short circuit found during the testing and that the launch would likely not occur before October. (The Russian article is here.)

The three current occupants of the space station — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, who is commanding the station — were originally scheduled to come back to Earth Oct. 30.

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.