Glitch delays space station crew's return to Earth

24th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

An undocking error Friday prevented the Soyuz capsule from leaving the International Space Station, forcing three crew members to remain an extra day in orbit, Russian space officials said.

"The commission has taken the decision to push back the date of the spacecraft's return. The landing will not take place today," an official at the mission control center near Moscow was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

"The return of the Soyuz is planned for Saturday, at an estimated landing time of 0900 Moscow time (0500 GMT)."

It is the first time in a decade of Soyuz flights to the space station that the craft has failed to undock.

US astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko had been due to land in the central Kazakh steppes on Friday morning.

But the manoeuvre was first delayed by a few hours due to "small glitches", before being cancelled Friday, Russian space officials said earlier.

Russia's space agency chief Anatoly Perminov stressed that the Soyuz crew all in good health and the situation was not critical.

© 2010 AFP

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