Crewed Soyuz Missions to Resume as Early as December

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirms that agency could send relief crews to the International Space Station as early as December following Soyuz mishap.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine addresses an audience at National Space Council meeting | Image credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has revealed that the agency expects to be sending astronauts to the International Space Station again as early as December. Missions to the station were suspending following a Soyuz mishap early this month.

Speaking at a National Space Council meeting titled “Moon, Mars, and Worlds Beyond, Winning the Next Frontier,” Bridenstine stated that “in December, we’re fully anticipating putting our crew on a Russian Soyuz rocket to launch to the International Space Station again.”

The failure early this month saw the two-man Soyuz MS-10 crew forced to return to Earth in ballistic descent mode. Although there was an initial loss of radio contact with Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos and NASA’s Nick Hague, the pair touched down safely and were recovered by search and rescue teams.

Alexey Ovchinin Nick Hague of the ISS Expedition 57 crew prepare for launch aboard the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft.
Soyuz MS-10 crew: Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos (left) and Nick Hague of NASA | Image credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

Although it traditionally can take months to fully complete a thorough investigation, Bridenstine confirmed that investigators already had a good idea of what caused the incident. “We have a really, really good idea of what the issue is,” said Bridenstine. “We’re getting very close to understanding it even better so we can confidently launch again.”

Over almost 60 years of crewed missions to space, there have only been a handful of mid-air disasters. In comparison to many mishaps before it, the Soyuz MS-10 incident concluded more favourably than most. Bridenstine echoed these sentiments stating, “It is important to note that while this was a failed launch, it was probably the single most successful failed launch we could have imagined.”

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.