Undocking problems on board ISS delay return to Russian cosmonauts and US astronaut to Earth

41748.jpegThe return of two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut to Earth from the International Space Station that was scheduled for Friday has been pushed back by a day because of problems encountered while undocking, the head of the Russian space agency said.

The space fliers were told to return to the station from the Russian Soyuz capsule that was to carry them to a landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan, said Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov, The Associated Press reports.

As teams in Korolyov, Russia, and Houston looked into the problem, the three astronauts were told to "take your gloves and helmets off and get comfortable," Russian Misson Control said.

The Soyuz was carrying Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko and U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson. They had been scheduled to land at 12:55 a.m. The next possible landing opportunity was scheduled for 4:05 a.m. in northern Kazakhstan, but as of press time, it wasn't clear whether Russia was going to proceed.

The crew have spent 175 days in space, 173 of those aboard the space station.

NASA pays critical attention to the Soyuz not only because it transports U.S. astronauts but because it also functions as an emergency evacuation vehicle for crews at the station, Florida Today reports.

According to Discovery News, engineers are reviewing photographs, video and instrument readings to try to resolve the problem, which is believed to be caused by an electrical short. The crew's departure has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday night.


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