Tanker to the "Mir" station won’t be launched before January, 24

The start of the cargo spaceship-tanker "Progress" to the "Mir" orbital station will take place not earlier than January 24, deputy head of the station's flight Viktor Blagov said at the Flight Control Centre. According to him, the obtaining situation changes conditions, and the start of the "Progress" cargo ship scheduled for January 21 should be postponed. Viktor Blagov explained that the additional time before the start will be used for accumulating electric power on the station for its stabilisation in outer space. The fixation of the "Mir" position in outer space is necessary for the docking of the cargo ship with it, which will deliver fuel necessary for lowering the station from the orbit and sinking it in the Pacific, he recalled. It is scheduled to launch "Progress" at 7.28 a.m., Moscow time on January 24 and to dock it with "Mir" at 8.30 a.m., Moscow time on January 27, RIA Novosti announces. "Such a long, three-day, flight of the spaceship to the station will make it possible to take all the necessary measures for removing troubles if they arise on the station or on board the cargo ship during their rapprochement and mooring," Blagov pointed out. At the same time he stressed that if it is necessary the launching of the "Progress" may be postponed till later time. The "Soyuz" rocket with the transport ship may stay in the Baikonur cosmodrome till the end of the month. "So far we are not limited by the strict time frame," Blagov concluded