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ISS crew stranded on space station as Russia investigates rocket failure (video)

Russia is investigating the failure of resupply rocket bound for the International Space Station (ISS). NASA said today that the Soyuz investigation will delay the return of the ISS crew to Earth.

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Just when NASA needs them most, the Russia space program faces questions about its reliability.

Russian officials announced Monday that they would delay the launch of the next manned mission for the International Space Station (ISS), probably until November. The next launch had been scheduled for Sept. 22.

Russia wants more time to investigate the failure of its Progress 44 supply ship last week. It said it was grounding the entire Soyuz rocket fleet, after the Progress ship's third-stage rocket failed, and the craft burned up on reentry over Siberia Wednesday.

Without a space shuttle, NASA and the ISS are completely dependent on the Russian space program.

Russia has a relatively good record with the Soyuz rockets. NASA notes that as of August 2011, the Russian Space Agency has had 21 launch failures and 724 successes. But the Moscow Times observes that the Progress loss was Russia's second rocket failure in a week and the fourth since December.

The other recent losses have been mostly satellite launches. This was the first loss of a Progress resupply mission.


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