Russia's Space Agency Roscomos has postponed the launch of a new mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from September 22 to the end of October or beginning of November, due to an accident that caused the loss of a Progress M-12M cargo ship last week, the agency's manned flight program Alexei Krasnov said on Monday.
"The date of the piloted launch will be known after the results of work by a commission. We think that a piloted launch will be made at the end of October or start of November, not before. That's our plan," he said.
Roskosmos said it would make two unmanned Soyuz launches before sending a new mission to the ISS in order to prevent further setbacks.
“I think we will make one or two launches of the unmanned craft, either an automated one or a freighter, or both, and a manned launch afterwards,” Krasnov said.
The main crews for the new expedition to the ISS was previously named as Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank. The reserve crew was Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joseph Akaba.
A Progress M-12M space freighter, carrying food and other items to the ISS, broke up over South Siberia's Altai Republic on August 24 after failing to separate from its Soyuz-U carrier rocket, the first loss of a Progress freighter in the history of Russia's space industry. A rocket engine failure is believed to have caused the accident.
The search for debris from Progress will be resumed on Tuesday, weather permitting, Gorno-Altaisk regional authorities said.
Three of the six astronauts currently on board the ISS will return to Earth on September 16 instead of September 8 due to changes in the schedule as a result of the accident, Krasnov added.