The Soyuz TMA-12M manned spacecraft that Russia launched from the Baikonur space center early on Wednesday has successfully performed two orbital maneuvers to reach an alternative trajectory for docking with the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos told Interfax-AVN.
"The Soyuz has successfully performed two maneuvers in the orbit in line with a new flight sequence. Hence, a new trajectory of its approach toward the ISS taking two days has been formed," a Roscosmos spokesperson said.
It was reported earlier that the Soyuz's docking with the ISS scheduled for Wednesday morning was postponed because the spacecraft failed to perform a necessary maneuver.
The next Soyuz orbit adjustment maneuver is planned for March 27. "This will be the third and final maneuver that would place the spacecraft on the ISS altitude," he said.
After that, the Kurs automated approach system will be activated to ensure the Soyuz's docking with the ISS, he said.
Energia Corporation President and General Designer Vitaly Lopota had told Interfax-AVN earlier on Wednesday that the Soyuz TMA-12M's automatic shift to a two-day approach trajectory for docking with the ISS might have been caused by a software glitch.
"The required ballistics was not achieved during the flight. The reason is so far unknown: it could be due to the math or a sensor distortion or an engine hiccup, but most probably it was the math," he said.
"The burn was missed after the second spin and the automatic system switched the ship to the two-day flight program because of the ballistics," he said.
"A commission has started working" to investigate the cause of the problem, Lopota said. "All will be clear by the end of the day," he said.
"Nothing critical has happened. The six-hour flight statistics are so far inconsiderable and a normal process of testing the four-spin scheme is under way," he said.
"This has happened before - the engine hiccupped during the approach [to the ISS] - the reason is not clear, it could be inferior fuel or a bubble [of air] but the automatic system immediately pulled the ship away from the station and the cosmonaut switched to TORU (tele-operator control mode). True, we lost 200 kilograms on this, but the docking was successful anyway," he noted.
A Soyuz-FG launch vehicle carrying the Soyuz TMA-12M manned spaceship was launched from Baikonur at 1:17 a.m. Moscow time on Wednesday. The docking with the ISS was originally scheduled for 7:04 a.m. Moscow time but was later delayed for two days.
The 39/40th ISS crew - Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Russia and NASA Astronaut Steven Swanson - went on space mission aboard the Soyuz spaceship designed and manufactured by the Energia Corporation.
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