Russia said Friday it was likely to bring forward the flight of a new manned space mission to the International Space Station but postpone the launch of a cargo ship after a rocket failure that forced two crew members to make an emergency landing.
It was the first such incident in Russia’s post-Soviet history — an unprecedented setback for the country’s space industry.
Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague sped back to Earth when the Soyuz rocket failed shortly after launching from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday.
The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is currently the world’s only lifeline to the International Space Station and the accident will affect the work of the orbiting laboratory.
The next Soyuz launch had been scheduled to take a new three-person crew to the ISS on December 20 and a Progress cargo ship had been set to blast off on October 31.