NASA acknowledged Jan. 27 that the descent module of a Soyuz spacecraft scheduled to transport three crew members to the international space station in March failed a prelaunch test, but the agency declined to say whether the launch date would slip as a result.
“It’s too early to know if there is any impact on schedules, so we do not know for sure if there will be a delay,” NASA spokesman Michael Currie said in a Jan. 27 email. He added that “there is plenty of margin for the existing space station crew to stay in orbit longer, if necessary, and plenty of margin in our manifest for upcoming launches.”
There are currently six crew members aboard the station. The upcoming Soyuz launch would replace the three current crew members who have been in space the longest.