A Soyuz manned spacecraft scheduled to take off in March with a new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) will be replaced by another space vehicle over a possible leak in the spacecraft’s descent capsule, a source in the rocket and space industry told TASS.
"Spaceship No. 734 may be replaced by spacecraft No. 735 over a leak in the descent module [of the 734th space vehicle]. This is not yet known for sure. The spacecraft will be returned for a check," the source said.
Meanwhile, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos has said the spacecraft’s replacement is not related to any technical causes.
Roscosmos announced last week that a Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft scheduled to fly to the International Space Station on March 27 would be replaced by a similar space vehicle but with a different factory number, which was intended to deliver Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronaut Jack Fischer to the world’s sole orbiter. Roscosmos said at the time the spacecraft replacement was not linked to any technical causes.
Meanwhile, a source in the rocket and space industry said the replacement would take place because spacecraft No. 734 had been built with budget funds while space vehicle No. 735 had been made under a contract with NASA.