• Kyodo

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The launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in late May that was supposed to take Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide into space will be delayed by about two months, RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday.

Quoting Alexei Krasnov, head of the Russian agency’s manned space programs, the report said the delay was prompted by the postponement of the next launch of the Soyuz to May 15 from March 30, due to problems with the spacecraft. The Soyuz ferries replacement crews to the International Space Station.

Russia’s space agency reached an agreement on the postponement Thursday with NASA, the report said.

Hoshide had been scheduled to arrive at the ISS in June for a six-month stay.

The new launch date will be set depending on various factors, including the launch of a space freighter carrying goods to the ISS, the report said.

Russia has reportedly decided to replace the entire spacecraft after its re-entry capsule was damaged during an air-tightness test.

The Soyuz is the sole transportation method for taking people and goods to the ISS after NASA retired the space shuttle fleet last July.

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