The Latest: NASA exploring flying space station without crew

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — The Latest on the failed space launch carrying two astronauts (all times local): 11:00 p.m. NASA says it’s dusting off its plans for flying the International Space Station without a crew after the aborted launch of a Russian rocket taking two astronauts toward the station. Kenny Todd, a space station manager, said from Houston several hours after Thursday’s aborted launch that the station’s three current residents can remain on board until January. That’s just a month beyond their expected mid-December return. Their Soyuz capsule is good for about 200 days in orbit, period. If the rocket that failed remains grounded until it’s time for the astronauts to come home, Todd says flight controllers could operate the orbiting lab without anyone on board. But he says the $100 billion asset would need to be staffed before SpaceX or Boeing launches new crew capsules next year. Todd says someone has to be on board for the arrival of the commercial demo missions, for safety reasons.

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