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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Zvezda Launch Held Back by Crashes

The launch of the Zvezda Service Module, a key component of the International Space Station, could be put off at least until spring because of the recent failures of Russia's Proton rocket, a senior official said Friday. The launch of Zvezda, which is to provide propulsion and initial living quarters, has been repeatedly delayed, in most cases due to Russia's lack of cash to complete the module and run tests on it. The module is still scheduled to take off between Dec. 26 and Jan. 16, but the launch may have to be shifted to April, Yury Koptev, general director of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, said Friday at a news conference. For the launch to go ahead as scheduled, Russian space specialists must determine quickly what caused the two Proton rockets to crash down onto Kazakhstan's steppe after their launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The latest three-stage Proton crashed Oct. 27 after one second-stage RD-0211 engine malfunctioned.

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