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New ISS Expedition Unaffected by Proton Crash – Roscosmos

RIA Novosti

13:42 16/05/2014

MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – The investigation into the crash of a Russian Proton-M rocket will not affect the launch of the next crew to the International Space Station, the head of the Russian space agency told RIA Novosti Friday.

A Proton-M rocket carrying Russia's advanced Express-AM4R satellite suffered an unknown failure and was lost early on Friday, about nine minutes after being launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

"This contingency flight will not impact the manned mission: Proton and Soyuz are carrier rockets of a completely different type. In any case, we will toughen the control over the preparation for all the launches," Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko said.

The third stage of the Proton burned up in the atmosphere above China, with no debris reaching Earth. Proton launches will be suspended pending results from the investigation.

Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and the backup team, comprising Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronaut Terry Virts, arrived at the Baikonur space center on Thursday, in preparation for the Soyuz TMA-13M launch scheduled for May 28.

The Russian Soyuz rocket and spacecraft, widely considered the most reliable manned space launch system in history, are currently the only means of reaching the station following the retirement of the US space shuttle three years ago.

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