The recent launch failure of a Russian Soyuz-U rocket carrying a Progress capsule likely will postpone the planned Sept. 22 launch of the Soyuz TMA-22 manned spacecraft until late October, according to an Interfax report quoting a well-informed source at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Aug. 24 loss of the Progress M-12M capsule filled with supplies for the international space station occurred through a fault in the third stage, which is identical to the one in the Soyuz-FG rocket used for manned launches, Interfax reported. No manned launches will be allowed until a special investigating commission completes its work, which may take a month or more, the report said.

“The commission needs to check the manufacturing of the rocket’s third stage at a plant in Samara [TSKB Progress] and the prelaunch preparations at Baikonur,” the source told Interfax. “It is also necessary to recover fragments of the third stage from the taiga and hand them over to specialists for subsequent analysis.”


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