Malfunction found in Soyuz descent capsule in pre-launch tests
MOSCOW, January 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The malfunction was found in the service elements of the descent capsule from the Soyuz TMA-04M piloted spaceship in the pre-launch tests in the altitude test chamber, but no decision was taken to delay a forthcoming launch, chief of the department of piloted space programs of the Federal Space Agency Alexei Krasnov told Itar-Tass on Friday in comments on several media reports over the postponement of the launch from late March to late April or early May.
Krasnov acknowledged that several days ago some problems really emerged at the stage of tests for a descent capsule in the altitude test chamber of the Energia Space Rocket Corporation (the pressurization limits were exceeded). But the problems are related to a service element, rather than the descent capsule, “The deformation of a service system was detected. The committee was formed and is investigating how seriously the malfunction was: whether it was a material defect or technologies. Probably, next week some decisions will be taken,” Krasnov noted.
Yet, Krasnov did not rule out that “the schedule of piloted missions will be revised,” but he sees no tragedy in this. “There are program reserves to deal with the emerged problem,” he underlined. He elaborated that in case of the delay of the Soyuz TMA-04M launch the ISS-29/30 crew, which was also delayed on the Earth for two months over the crash of the Progress space freighter, can work on the orbit for some more time.
“It is very good that upon the results of the tests we received critical remarks before the spaceship was brought to the Baikonur spaceport, because we have some time and possibilities to examine everything in detail,” Krasnov concluded.
The Soyuz TMA-04M spaceship with the ISS-31/32 crew is to be launched to the ISS on March 30.