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Russia: NASA not involved in probe

Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC
Permission previously granted by the Houston Chronicle

May 9, 2003, 11:36PM
Russia: NASA not involved in probe
MOSCOW -- NASA experts will not be involved in the investigation of the
off-target landing of a Russian spacecraft that returned the previous
crew of the international space station to Earth, the Russian chief of
the investigation was quoted as saying. 
The statement made Thursday by Nikolai Zelenshchikov contradicted
earlier information from NASA. On Monday, NASA Administrator Sean
O'Keefe said after a meeting with Russian space agency chief Yuri Koptev
that U.S. experts would take part in the investigation. 
Zelenshchikov said his commission will finish its investigation into
what caused Sunday's glitch by May 23, and without help from the
Americans, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. 
Russian cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin and U.S. astronauts Kenneth Bowersox
and Donald Pettit landed nearly 300 miles off course in Kazakhstan on
Sunday after an unexpectedly steep ride from the station aboard a
Russian Soyuz capsule. 
It is unclear exactly what caused the rough, uncontrolled descent.
Experts have said it was most likely a computer error and not a mistake
by one of the crew members. 
Zelenshchikov, first deputy chief of RKK Energiya, the company that
makes the Soyuz, told ITAR-Tass that including NASA officials in the
investigation "would create difficulties" in the commission's work. 
He added that no Russian experts had been involved in the U.S.
investigation of the Columbia shuttle disaster, in which all seven crew
members were killed. No Russians were on board the Columbia. 
Sunday's ride was the first time U.S. astronauts had returned on a
Russian craft. NASA is depending on the Soyuz ships to keep the space
station manned in the aftermath of the Columbia. The U.S. shuttle fleet
has been grounded pending the investigation into that disaster.

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