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Soyuz launch delayed
Posted: Fri, Oct 18, 2002, 9:32 PM ET (0132 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) Russian officials announced Friday that they were delaying the launch of a Soyuz taxi mission for up to several days while an investigation into a launch failure earlier this week continues. The launch of Soyuz TMA-1, scheduled for late October 27, will be delayed for up to several days, although a specific new launch date was not mentioned. The delay will give investigators time to determine why one of the engines of the first stage of a Soyuz booster failed less than a half-minute after launch Tuesday, causing the booster to crash near the launch site in Plesetsk, killing one person on the ground. The Soyuz-U booster on that flight is very similar to the Soyuz-FG that would be used to launch Soyuz TMA-1. A delay in the launch of Soyuz TMA-1 could delay the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, currently scheduled for November 10, since the shuttle and Soyuz cannot be in orbit at the same time. The Soyuz currently docked to the station also needs to be returned to Earth by the middle of November, when it reaches its 200-day orbital lifetime limit.
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