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Tue, Apr 26, 2011

Roscosmos Seeks To Block SpaceX From ISS Docking

Says No Hookup Until "Safety" Of The Spacecraft Is Proven

A high-ranking Russian space official says Russia will not permit SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to dock with the ISS until its "safety is fully tested." The remarks were published by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, as well as the Roscosmos English-language website.

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SpaceX has requested authorization from NASA for a mission to dock with ISS in December. "We will not issue docking permission unless the necessary level of reliability and safety [of the spacecraft] is proven. So far we have no proof that those spacecraft duly comply with the accepted norms of spaceflight safety," said Alexei Krasnov, who heads the manned spaceflight department of Russia's space agency Roscosmos.

Krasnov said the Russians will have to study data from a demonstration flight scheduled for later this year before they will allow the U.S. commercial spacecraft to deliver supplies to ISS. "We have received no requests from NASA on the issue," the space official said. "This plan is realistic, and ultimately commercial spacecraft will be able to dock with the space station," he said. "But all in good time."

According to the SpaceX 2011's launch schedule, two Dragon flights are to take place in 2011. During the first flight, the spacecraft will perform the flyby of the ISS, approaching to within 10 km from the station. During the second mission, it is hoped to dock with the ISS.

The PIRS docking module is of Russian design and construction. Some have suggested that the reticence on the part of the Russian government is due in part to concerns over loss of revenue once the shuttle is retired.



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