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Russia announces launch of 2 spacecraft in Oct.-Nov.

RIA Novosti

18:14 13/09/2011

MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday it has tentatively set the nearest launch of a Progress space freighter on October 30 and a Soyuz manned spacecraft on November 12.

Another Soyuz is scheduled to lift off on December 20 and a Progress - on January 26, 2012.

The new launch schedule has been drafted on the basis of an investigation into a failed launch of the Progress M-12M space freighter from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on August 24.

A special investigation commission has established that a Soyuz-U carrier rocket engine failure led to the loss of the Progress cargo spacecraft. The failure was caused by a clogged fuel supply pipe.

The commission described the defect as "accidental" but recommended introducing additional control procedures to ensure that other similar engines do not have the same defects. A new launch schedule for the Russian spacecraft had to be drawn up.

After the retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet earlier this summer, Russian Soyuz spacecraft became the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS until at least 2015, while Progress-family freighters have been the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet for decades.

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