British Interplanetary Society review of the short-term effect that the Soyuz MS-10 Launch Abort may have on the continued operation of the ISS

“As we await NASA’s Space Station Status Briefing, after Crew Launch Abort (at 12:00 EDT), we at the British Interplanetary Society review the short-term effect that the Soyuz MS-10 Launch Abort may have on the continued operation of the ISS:

The abort shortly after the Soyuz launch today brings potential problems for maintaining a crew aboard the International Space Station. The existing three-person crew launched to the ISS on 6 June this year and the Soyuz spacecraft currently docked is proofed to remain in space for up to 200 days, taking it to January/February 2019. That means there are currently at least four months to return the Soyuz launch vehicle to flight and get another crew up and that is not impossible, but the current crew were scheduled to return home in December and remaining in space a further month or so would not be a problem. 

If the launcher is not re-qualified to return to flight status by early next year it will inevitably lead to the existing crew returning to Earth, vacating the ISS for the first time in almost 19 years. But this also grounds all further flights with the Soyuz launcher including Progress logistical flights to the ISS, the next of which (Progress 71P) was scheduled for the end of this month and that will not happen. The current crew of Expedition 57 were expected to return on December 13, with the following crew flying to the ISS seven days later, today’s failed flight supposedly having delivered the interim crew which of course did not happen. Not before mid-2019 is the first US commercial crewed launch from US soil expected at the earliest so that is out of the equation. As it stands, Roscosmos needs to get this fixed as quickly as possible.” David Baker, SpaceFlight magazine.

NASA’s Initial Statement on Soyuz MS-10 Launch Abort:

“The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 11 (2:40 p.m. in Baikonur) carrying American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft.

“Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site. Hague and Ovchinin are out of the capsule and are reported to be in good condition. They will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia outside of Moscow.

“NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully. NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”

SpaceFlight will carry a full analysis and review in the next issue out early November.

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