NASA to use Rus­sia’s Soyuz rocket again de­spite ac­ci­dent

Kuwait Times - - Health & Science -

MOSCOW: NASA chief Jim Bri­den­s­tine on Fri­day praised the Rus­sian space pro­gram and said he ex­pected a new crew to go to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion in De­cem­ber de­spite a rocket fail­ure. “I fully an­tic­i­pate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no rea­son to be­lieve at this point that it will not be on sched­ule,” he told re­porters in Moscow. The NASA ad­min­is­tra­tor spoke to re­porters at the US em­bassy in Moscow a day af­ter a Soyuz rocket fail­ure forced a two-man crew to make an emer­gency land­ing in Kaza­khstan.

It was the first such in­ci­dent in Rus­sia’s post-Soviet his­tory-an un­prece­dented set­back for the coun­try’s space in­dus­try. Bri­den­s­tine, who is vis­it­ing Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan for the first time since his ap­point­ment as

NASA head this year, ob­served the launch from the Baikonur cos­mod­rome with his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Dmitry Ro­gozin. He said he was “con­fi­dent” that a new manned mis­sion to the ISS would go ahead as planned in De­cem­ber, prais­ing the “won­der­ful re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the Rus­sian and US space agen­cies.

The next Soyuz launch had been sched­uled to take a new crew to the ISS on De­cem­ber 20. The Rus­sian space agency said on Fri­day it may bring for­ward the launch of the next mis­sion to the ISS. Look­ing at times emo­tional, the NASA chief praised “the re­silience” of the Soyuz rocket. “Not ev­ery mis­sion that fails ends up so suc­cess­ful,” he said. He added he had dis­cussed the ac­ci­dent with US Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence but not with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

He said he had also spo­ken to US as­tro­naut Nick Hague who ap­peared in high spir­its de­spite the or­deal. “He was very funny,” he said. The NASA chief played down ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries, say­ing space re­mained an area of co­op­er­a­tion. “We can both do more in space to­gether than we can do alone,” he said, adding his re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sian space agency chief Ro­gozin was “very solid.” When asked about the ac­ci­dent, Trump said on Thurs­day that he was “not at all wor­ried” that Amer­i­cans had to rely on Rus­sians to go to space.

— AFP

MOSCOW: NASA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Jim Bri­den­s­tine meets with the me­dia at the US em­bassy in Moscow.

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