Soyuz Launch Scheduled for Saturday 23rd March

ALMATY, Kazakhstan – A spacecraft carrying three crewmembers from Russia, Belarus and the United States is scheduled to launch Saturday to the International Space Station. The mission was aborted Thursday with seconds to lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The scrapped launch was caused by a “voltage drop in the chemical current source,” said Yuri Borisov, head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency. Tass, the Russian state news agency, quoted Borisov as saying the crew is safe and well.

The Soyuz spacecraft was expected to take about three hours after a launch on Thursday to reach the station, where seven people already aboard are awaiting the new arrivals. If a Saturday afternoon launch goes ahead, the travel time will be longer and docking is expected to occur on Monday.

Those heading to the space station are mission commander Oleg Novitsky of Roscosmos (his fourth trip to space), Belarusian Marina Vasilevskaya (her first trip) and NASA’s Tracy Caldwell Dyson (her third).

Novitsky, a lieutenant colonel in the Russian Air Force, and Vasilevskaya, a former flight attendant, will return to Earth after 12 days on the station, accompanied by NASA’s Loral O’Hara, who has spent six months in space. Dyson, a chemist with experience as an electrician and private pilot, is scheduled to return to Earth in September.

Coordination between the U.S. and Russian space agencies has continued despite international tension over the war in Ukraine.

“Russia and the United States are still cooperating in space. At least for now,” tweeted Eric Berger, senior space editor at Ars Technica, a technology publication.

Russia operates the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan. The Soviet Union opened the facility in the 1950s.