Report: ISS Could Get Back to Normal at the End of October

Anatoly Zak at Russian Space Web reports on a preliminary schedule for returning Soyuz to flight and staffing the International Space Station.

As of August 30, the upcoming station milestones looked as following:

  • Sept. 16 (Sept. 15, 11:30 p.m. Houston Time): Soyuz TMA-21 (Tail No. 231; ISS mission 26S) landing (Delayed from Sept. 8);
  • Sept. 25: Soyuz-2-1B/GLONASS-M launch (return to flight for the Soyuz family of rockets);
  • Oct. 13: Progress M-10M (Tail No. 410; ISS mission 42P) undocking from the station;
  • Oct. 14: Progress M-13M (Tail No. 413; ISS mission 45P) launch (a test flight of the Soyuz-U rocket);
  • Oct. 28: Soyuz TMA-22 (Tail No. 232; ISS mission 28S) launch (delayed from Sept. 22);

This schedule involves two launches of the Soyuz booster, one of which will carry Progress freighters to the station, prior to the next human mission.  If the plan holds, ISS will be down to three crew members for just over six weeks. NASA officials say that this crew size is perfectly safe, although little science work will get done during that period.