NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he believes launches of crewed Soyuz spacecraft will resume “on schedule” after last week’s launch failure, avoiding the possibility of leaving the International Space Station without a crew.
Roscosmos now says one of the Soyuz rocket’s four strap-on boosters failed to properly separate and nicked the core stage.
With Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft grounded for an indefinite period, NASA managers said Oct. 11 that they will look at ways to keep the current International Space Station crew in orbit for an extended period if needed.
Thursday’s dramatic launch abort was the first time a crewed spacecraft bound for the ISS has suffered a mission critical failure. But it was not the first time that a manned Soyuz rocket has been forced to activate its launch abort system.
As the crew of the International Space Station worked Aug. 30 to fix, at least temporarily, a minor air leak, the incident illustrated the growing orbital debris risk to the outpost and strains in American and Russian approaches to ISS operations.
NASA has tasked a new advisory committee with studying greater commercial activities at the agency, including selling naming rights for NASA missions and allowing astronauts to perform commercial work.
NASA is continuing to study using commercial crew test flights as space station crew rotation missions, but won’t make a final decision regarding that until next summer.
A new report by NASA’s Office of Inspector General raises doubts about the feasibility of NASA’s plans to transfer ISS operations to the private sector in 2025.
Koichi Wakata, JAXA vice president and astronaut, helps chart future of ISS and human space exploration
Koichi Wakata, the Japanese space agency’s vice president and director general for human spaceflight technology, is intimately familiar with the International Space Station. As an astronaut, he helped assemble the space station in 2000 and lived onboard for four months in 2009 and six months in 2013 and 2014.
Uncertainty over the timing of the orbiting outpost’s retirement and the eventual transition to one or more new platforms is making it challenging for companies to attract investors and plan for the future.
Amid growing concerns about commercial crew delays, a GAO report recommended NASA share more schedule information with Congress and develop contingency plans to maintain access to the International Space Station.
For clues on the space station’s current status and the transition ahead, SpaceNews spoke with Sam Scimemi, ISS director at NASA headquarters.