13 Mar 2019 14:09

All parameters of Soyuz-FG rocket coupled with Soyuz MS-12 ship satisfactory - Roscosmos

MOSCOW. March 13 (Interfax) - All parameters of the Soyuz-FG rocket coupled with the Soyuz MS-12 manned spacecraft are satisfactory, a Roscosmos representative told Interfax.

"As of completion of an operational check carried out to prepare the rocket for being launched, all parameters are satisfactory," the representative said in commenting on media reports alleging that problems had occurred during preparations for takeoff.

A source within Roscosmos told Interfax earlier that the Soyuz-FG rocket was being prepared for launch as planned.

Meanwhile, the traditional rocket blessing ceremony has been moved from Wednesday to Thursday. A source in the aerospace industry told Interfax it took the launch crew longer to prepare Soyuz-FG for the mission.

The rocket carrying Soyuz MS-12 is due to take off at 10:14 p.m. Moscow time on March and to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) at 4:07 a.m. on Friday. The Russian cosmonaut and his foreign colleagues will reach the ISS within six hours, the Mission Control Center said earlier.

The ship will be manned by Alexei Ovchinin of Roscosmos, and Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA.

Ovchinin and Hague were expected to reach the ISS on October 11, 2018, but a faulty rocket prevented their arrival from taking place. The separation of a first-stage side block went wrong due to a sensor fault: instead of flying away, the block turned, hit the Soyuz-FG rocket's core, and changed its direction. The emergency system separated the landing capsule carrying Ovchinin and Hague from the rocket, and they performed a soft landing near the city of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Soyuz rockets were grounded after the incident.

It was the first accident in 35 years of operation of Soyuz manned spacecraft.

Ovchinin and Hague took a rehabilitation course after the accident and started preparing for the next mission together with Koch. The crew was cleared by doctors, passed preflight exams, and was approved by an interagency commission.