12:09 04 May 2003
The three crew members left high and dry on the International Space Station by the grounding of the shuttle fleet are back on earth. They returned in a Soviet Soyuz TMA capsule, which was on the station as a lifeboat. However, due to technical problems on the Soyuz, they missed their planned landing site by about 275 miles. It took over two and a half hours for them to be located, but in the end everyone was fine. That’s a relief. The two man crew that arrived last week remains onboard for maintenance and a little science.
Boeing has completed a study to keep the ISS running using Soyuz and unmanned Progress flights to resupply the station and ferry crew back and forth. That’s great, but the fact that such a study had to be conducted is truly embarrassing. These are very dark days for the US manned space program.
I’m trying to think of a way that Saturn Vs could bail us out of this one, but we’ve pretty much painted ourselves into a corner.
Update 12:22 04 May 2003
The Soyuz is a RUSSIAN spcecraft, not a SOVIET. Heh.