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Report: Soyuz cleared for ISS flight despite technical issue
Posted: Fri, Feb 2, 2001, 2:36 PM ET (1936 GMT)
Russian media reported Friday that Russia will launch a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station in late April despite the discovery of a depressurized thermal control system on the spacecraft. The Itar-Tass news agency reported that officials cleared the Soyuz for flight after a vacuum test last month showed that the thermal control system had lost air pressurization. Additional tests at an Energia factory determined that the depressurization should not cause a leak of coolant or other problems with the system, but the clearance had raised eyebrows among some western observers, who worry that the spacecraft's condition could degrade during the six months it will be docked to ISS. The spacecraft is scheduled for launch April 30, bringing a "taxi crew" of two Russian cosmonauts and California space tourist Dennis Tito to the station; the three will return about ten days after launch using the Soyuz spacecraft currently docked to the station.
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