Russia Lays Out Its ISS Schedule for Rest of 2015
Russia's space agency Roscosmos released a new schedule for Russian launches to the International Space Station (ISS) for the rest of 2015 today. The schedule, approved by a State Commission, shows the expected path forward following the Progress M-27M failure last month.
The ISS partnership -- the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and 11 European countries -- already announced that the Soyuz TMA-15M crew will return to Earth on Thursday, June 11, about a month later than planned. The schedule announced by Russia today shows the following launches to ISS of Progress robotic cargo spacecraft and Soyuz spacecraft that transport crews:
In addition to these Russian launches, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) today confirmed the date for the launch of its next HTV robotic cargo spacecraft, HTV-5 (Kounotori 5). It will launch at approximately 10:01 pm on August 16 Japan Standard Time (9:01 am August 16 EDT).
The next U.S. launch to ISS is SpaceX CRS-7 (SpX-7) on June 26 at 11:09 am EDT. The robotic SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will deliver cargo. Three more U.S. cargo launches (2 SpaceX, 1 Orbital ATK) also are expected this year.
The Soyuz TMA-17M crew will be composed of Russia's Oleg Kononenko, Japan's Kimiya Yui, and America's Kjell Lindgren. Their launch was delayed from May 26 because of the Progress M-27M failure.
Soyuz TMA-18M was supposed to take singer Sarah Brightman to the ISS as a spaceflight participant, but she dropped out of the flight last month. It is not clear if her backup, Japan's Satoshi Takamatsu (an advertising executive) or someone else will replace her. The other two crew members who will launch on Soyuz TMA-18M are Russia's Sergei Volkov and ESA's Andreas Mogensen.
Soyuz TMA-19M will launch with Russia's Yuri Malenchenko, ESA's Timothy Peake and NASA's Timothy Kopra.
Those crews are a combination of regular ISS crews rotating on typical 4-6 month missions and short-term (1 week) visitors. As they come and go, NASA's Scott Kelly and Roscosmos' Mikhail Kornienko are remaining aboard for their one-year mission that began in March 2015 and will end in March 2016. They are scheduled to return on the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft.
NASA designates the Progress and Soyuz missions numerically based on how many of those missions have gone to ISS. Soyuz has been in service since 1967 and has undergone several upgrades, as has Progress, whose first flight was in 1977. The Russians therefore have different designations reflecting their decades of operation and the various modifications. For NASA, Progress M-28M is Progress 60 ("60P"); M-29M is Progress 61 and so forth. Soyuz TMA-18M is Soyuz 44, for example.
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