Temporary end of manned space launches

For the first time since the beginning of manned space exploration, there are no available spacecraft that can be used for manned launches.

The US Space Shuttle system has been retired and the next-generation launch system will not be flight-ready for years. The Russian Soyuz has been grounded because of today’s failure during the launch of the Progress M-12M. The Chinese Shenzhou has had only 3 manned flights with the next one not scheduled until 2012.

It’s been 50 years (18,396 days) since Gagarin’s flight.

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