The Russian Space Agency Roscosmos has announced plans to resume manned launches to the International Space Station (ISS) as early as 3 December.
According to the New York Times, Roscosmos will launch three astronauts, namely Anne McClain of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Russia, and David Saint-Jacques of Canada to the ISS.
Earlier, Roscosmos had suspended manned space launches after a rocket carrying two astronauts in one of Russia's Soyuz capsules to the ISS failed in less than two minutes after lift-off on 11 October.
This rocket was carrying Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague to the ISS. Due to the failure of the rocket, the mission was aborted, and the astronauts were forced to make an emergency landing.
The astronaut's capsule landed about 15 miles outside the city of Zhezqazghan in central Kazakhstan. Neither of the two astronauts were injured in the incident. Both astronauts were rescued within an hour of their safe landing.
After the launch failure, Roscosmos set up an investigation to look into the cause of the rocket failure. The investigation determined that the rocket had malfunctioned due to a faulty sensor, which was bent by about six degrees, and could not monitor the detaching of the boosters from the rocket.
Because of the faulty sensor, the lid of a nozzle on one of the side boosters did not open, thereby preventing the boosters from falling away cleanly. Roscosmos' investigation revealed that the sensor was damaged when the side boosters were being attached to the rocket at the launch site in Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Roscosmos has also announced that it is planning an unmanned Soyuz launch on 16 November. This rocket will carry a supply ship to the ISS.
Since the ending of NASA's space shuttle programme in 2011, the Russian Soyuz rocket is the only way for astronauts and cosmonauts to get to (and from) the ISS. Boeing and SpaceX are currently working on Soyuz alternatives, but their spacecraft will not be ready for test flights until 2019.
Currently, there are three astronauts on board the ISS, with enough food, water and other supplies to last for several months.
Another Soyuz capsule is docked at the space station, which the astronauts will need to use before the end of January in order to return to Earth.
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