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Russia delays next manned space flight after cargo ship crash

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MOSCOW (PTI): Russia has postponed the launch of a new mission to the International Space Station, a move that will also delay the return of astronauts in the wake of the crash of its unmanned cargo ship carrying food and other supplies last week.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said it has postponed the flight of the new mission to ISS, slotted for September 22, till the end of October or early November.

"The date of the manned launch will be known after the results of work by a commission. We think that a flight will be made at the end of October or start of November, not before. That's our plan," Alexei Krasnov, Chief of the Roscosmos' manned flight programme said on Monday.

A Progress M-12M space freighter, carrying food and other supplies to the ISS crashed in Siberia shortly after launch on August 24 due to failure of booster stage.

Three astronauts out of the six currently on board the ISS are from Russia and will return on September 16 instead of September 8 due to changes in the schedule as a result of the accident, Krasnov added.

This was the first loss of an automatic Progress cargo spacecraft in its decades long history, RIA Novosti reported.

There are six crew members aboard the ISS station.

American Ronald Garan Jr. and Russians Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev have been in orbit since April.

Krasnov said Roscosmos would make two unmanned Soyuz launches before sending a new mission to the ISS in order to prevent further setbacks.

"I think we will make one or two launches of the unmanned craft, either an automated one or a freighter, or both, before a manned launch," he said.

Russian spacecraft has been deployed for carrying supplies to the orbiting research lab after the retirement of the US space shuttle programme earlier this year.

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Russia  Soyuz  ISS  
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