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Tokyo says manned Soyuz launch postponed due to Russia's 'thorough preparations'

TOKYO, May 14 — Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) believes that the postponed launch of the manned Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft with the next crew to the International Space Station is explained by Russia’s thorough preparations, the head of agency’s manned space activities department told reporters on Thursday.

"The current change in the launch plans is the showing of Russia’s thorough and careful approach to this issue," Takashi Hamazaki said.

Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui who will be part of the expedition will now leave the Star City outside Moscow and travel to the space center in Houston, Texas, the JAXA representative said. He will continue trainings there and in particular for actions in emergency situations.

According to the latest data, the launch of Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft to the ISS is planned for July 24, a source at the Baikonur spaceport told TASS on Wednesday. This will be the first manned flight to ISS after the loss of the Progress M-27M spacecraft in late April.

The Soyuz launch, initially scheduled for May 26, will carry Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and U.S. astronaut Kjell Lindgren. (PNA/TASS)


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