Astronauts Headed Back To Space Station In November

NASA says that astronauts will begin flying back to the International Space Station in November. After the crash of a Russian cargo flight in August, there had been some doubt about Russia's ability to safely launch humans. But as KUHF Health Science and Technology reporter Carrie Feibel explains, the two countries now feel ready.

It will be the first manned space flight since Atlantis touched down for the last time in July. One American and two Russians will launch November 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will ride on a Soyuz vehicle, which is similar to the Progress vehicle that crashed in August.

But the Russians say they’ve figured out the problem behind the crash. And NASA agrees that it’s safe to get ready to send humans back into orbit.

Soyuz
(28 June 2010) The Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft.
NASA image.

What this means is that the space station will continue to have a crew, albeit a pared-down three-member crew.

After the cargo crash in August, there had been some fears that the space station would have no crew.

That’s because astronauts — and the Soyuz ships — must come back to Earth at regular intervals for safety reasons.

Without a crew and regular fuel shipments, there’s a greater chance of equipment breaking down or even the station becoming unstable and falling out of orbit.

But those fears seem to have receded now that NASA has scheduled this crew launch in November.

From the KUHF Health Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...