Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft launch aborted mere seconds before blast off

Launch of Soyuz MS-25 manned spacecraft to ISS aborted at the last moment

On Thursday, March 21, the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with the Soyuz MS-25 manned spacecraft was supposed to blast off from launch pad No. 31 (Vostok) at Baikonur Cosmodrome. The rocket launch was aborted at the last moment. The countdown was stopped approximately 20 seconds before the start time.

Soyuz-25 launch aborted

"Attention at the launch complex. The launch was automatically aborted. Bring the units of the launch complex to their original condition. Prepare to be parked for 24 hours,” the announcer of the broadcast hosted by Roscosmos said.

The launch was dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut and first man in space Yuri Gagarin.

According to the presenter of the NASA broadcast, the launch of the Soyuz MS-25 manned spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) was aborted after Soyuz-2.1a rocket engines did not start in time.

The umbilical mast retracted, but the engines did not start on time, and the automatic system canceled the launch.

The second attempt to launch the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft with a Russian-Belarusian-American crew will take place no earlier than Saturday, March 23.

The crew of the 21st visiting expedition includes:

  • Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky,
  • NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson,
  • Belarus cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya.

Their backups are Anastasia Lenkova of Belarus, cosmonaut Ivan Vagner and Donald Pettit, who is the oldest active NASA astronaut.

Marina Vasilevskaya will become the first woman cosmonaut in the history of independent Belarus. She beat out 3,000 other candidates. The Belarusian earlier worked as a flight attendant at Belavia Airlines for six years. She was also a professional ballroom dancer for 15 years.

Ivan Bucha, deputy head of the department of aerospace activities of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, said that the crew would perform seven experiments during their space mission — five research and two educational experiments.

"They will be experiments in the field of medicine, biology, physiology, and remote sensing of the Earth,” Ivan Bucha said.

Novitsky and Vasilevskaya are expected to stay on the ISS for about two weeks and return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft along with NASA astronaut Laurel O'Hara, while the Dyson mission is expected to last longer. She will remain at the orbital station until September and will fly back on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft together with Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov