AFPMOSCOW (AFP-Jiji) — An unmanned spacecraft carrying Russia’s first humanoid robot to be sent into orbit failed to dock automatically at the International Space Station on Saturday, in a new setback for Moscow.
“Russian cosmonauts issued a command to abort the automated approach of an uncrewed Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station,” the U.S. space agency NASA said in a statement.
“The craft was unable to lock onto its target at the station,” and “backed a safe distance away from the orbital complex while the Russian flight controllers assess the next steps,” NASA said.
Russian flight controllers had told the ISS crew it appeared the problem that prevented automated docking was in the station and not the Soyuz spacecraft, NASA added.
Moscow news agencies quoted the flight center control as saying the Soyuz craft had to retreat to a “secure distance” from the ISS.
The docking had been scheduled for 0530 GMT but a live broadcast of the event on the website of the Russian space agency Roscosmos was interrupted when the Soyuz approached to about 100 meters off the ISS.