Roscosmos

Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti assisted after their landing in the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft (Photo NASA TV, Anatoly Zak)

A little while ago, NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent nearly six and a half months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on November 24, 2014. They were initially part of the Expedition 42, in the second half of their stay they were part of Expedition 43 with Terry Virts as Station commander.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced the results of the investigation on the failure of the mission of the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft. The problem was found to be in the separation system between the spacecraft and the third stage of the Soyuz 2-1a rocket used to launch it. A new Progress mission to bringh supplies to the International Space Station could be scheduled for early July, probably using a Soyuz-U rocket, the version used until recently.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced the results of the investigation on the problem that caused the failure of the mission of the Proton-M rocket on May 16, 2015. The fault was detected in the turbopump rotor of the rocket’s third stage engine which resulted in an instability in the engine that caused the emergency shutdown. According to the investigation, it’s a design flaw and recommendations were issued to correct it.

The MexSat-1/Centenario satellite blasting off atop a Proton-M rocket (Image courtesy Tsenki/Roscosmos. All rights reserved)

It was almost noon yesterday in Kazakhstan when the MexSat-1 satellite, also called Centenario to celebrate the centenary of the Mexican Revolution, was launched on a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about 10 minutes, however, something malfunctioned in the rocket’s third stage, causing the loss of the satellite.

Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti during a press conference on November 22, 2014 (Photo ESA–S. Corvaja)

The schedule for the International Space Station crew rotation has been officially changed. Following the mishap with the Russian spacecraft Progress M-27M it was decided to postpone the launch of the next three members so the three ones of the Expedition 42/43 – Samantha Cristoforetti, Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov – will remain on the Station at least until the beginning of June.