European astronaut flight may be delayed

MOSCOW, May 5 (UPI) -- A German astronaut's flight to the International Space Station may be postponed as a result of a delay in resuming U.S. space shuttle missions.

The European Space Agency's Thomas Reiter may travel to the ISS in September following the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's decision to delay the launch of shuttle Discovery until July, the Russian ITAR-TASS news reported.


Vyacheslav Davidenko, spokesman for Roskosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, said Reiter, 46, is expected to fly to the ISS on board a second shuttle in September and return to Earth in February 2006. He would begin work on the ISS as a member of the 11th expedition, together with NASA astronaut John Phillips and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, and end his stay as a member of the 12th expedition, Davidenko said.

Earlier Reiter was expected to join Phillips and Krikalev in July.

Following the loss of the shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts on Feb. 1, 2003, all U.S. space shuttle launches were suspended.

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