Soyuz crew launches on 'ultrafast' two-orbit flight to space station - London Time News

Soyuz crew launches on ‘ultrafast’ two-orbit flight to space station

October 14, 2020 — An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have launched to the International Space Station simply forward of and to increase 20 years of a steady human presence in Earth orbit.

Kate Rubins of NASA, along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, lifted off on Russia’s Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday (Oct. 14). Their launch, atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket, started at 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT; 10:45 a.m. native Kazakh time).

The three crewmates are scheduled to dock their Soyuz on the station’s Rassvet module at 4:52 a.m. EDT (0852 GMT) after a two-orbit rendezvous. This mission marks the primary crewed use of an “ultrafast” flight plan, which can see the Soyuz arrive on the area station inside three hours of its launch, slightly than following an earlier expedited six-hour monitor or two-day path.

“This two-orbit rendezvous has been modeled for quite awhile now. It has been tested with Progress [cargo] vehicles,” Ryzhikov mentioned in a pre-launch press convention on Tuesday. “We will be reaching the station a lot sooner than we have reached Baikonur coming out from Moscow.”

October 14, 2020 — An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have launched to the International Space Station simply forward of and to increase 20 years of a steady human presence in Earth orbit.

Kate Rubins of NASA, along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, lifted off on Russia’s Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday (Oct. 14). Their launch, atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket, started at 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT; 10:45 a.m. native Kazakh time).

The three crewmates are scheduled to dock their Soyuz on the station’s Rassvet module at 4:52 a.m. EDT (0852 GMT) after a two-orbit rendezvous. This mission marks the primary crewed use of an “ultrafast” flight plan, which can see the Soyuz arrive on the area station inside three hours of its launch, slightly than following an earlier expedited six-hour monitor or two-day path.

“This two-orbit rendezvous has been modeled for quite awhile now. It has been tested with Progress [cargo] vehicles,” Ryzhikov mentioned in a pre-launch press convention on Tuesday. “We will be reaching the station a lot sooner than we have reached Baikonur coming out from Moscow.”

Soyuz MS-17 crew launch. Click to enlarge and examine video in new, pop-up window. (NASA)
Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov’s launch got here two and a half weeks earlier than the 20-year anniversary of the area station’s first crew taking on residency on the orbital advanced. The Expedition 1 crew, additionally comprised by an American and two Russians — William Shepard, Yuri Lonchakov and Sergei Krikalev — started their keep on Nov. 2, 2000.

“The 20-year anniversary of a continuous human presence in space is going to be quite an event and I think all three of us look forward to being there during that time,” mentioned Rubins. “I think the International Space Station is one of the most incredible engineering achievements in human history and certainly it ranks very high on spaceflight achievements. It is quite a marvel to see such a giant machine that was built entirely by humans and flown off the surface of Earth still persists in space 20 years later.”

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On board the area station since April, awaiting Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov, are Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos flight engineers Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The six crew members will serve collectively for seven days earlier than Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner return to Earth on Soyuz MS-16, leaving Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov to start Expedition 64.

Expedition 64, beneath Ryzhikov’s command, might be a three-person complement till the launch of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission with 4 astronauts. Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker of NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi are focused to raise off on a Dragon spacecraft by mid-November, pending the decision of an engine subject that led to the abort of a SpaceX launch on Oct. 2.

During their six-month mission, Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will conduct a whole lot of science experiments and know-how demonstrations in a various subject of disciplines, together with biology, biotechnology, bodily and Earth science.

“We are planning to try some really interesting things like bio-printing tissues and growing cells in space, and, of course, continuing our work on sequencing DNA,” mentioned Rubins, who in 2016 turned the primary astronaut to sequence DNA in area.

The three station residents may even oversee the arrival of a number of resupply spacecraft, together with Progress autos, the primary of SpaceX’s second-generation Dragon cargo capsules and a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft. The three may additionally be on the station for the primary docking by a Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on an uncrewed orbital flight check, which is focused for early 2021.

Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are slated to carry out spacewalks to organize for the jettison of the Russian Pirs docking compartment and the addition of the Nauka (“Science”) multipurpose laboratory module. The Pirs module was first added to the area station in 2001.

For Rubins, a microbiologist who lived on the area station for 115 days in 2016, Wednesday’s launch marked a private milestone: her forty second birthday.

“I feel like this will be a birthday I will never be able to beat. It is pretty funny to launch to space on your birthday,” Rubins mentioned in an interview with collectSPACE. She is now the fifth U.S. astronaut to have launched on her birthday after Richard Truly on STS-2 in 1981, Dale Gardner on STS-51A in 1984, Kent Rominger on STS-85 in 1997 and John Phillips on Soyuz TMA-6 in 2005.

Ryzhikov, a 46-year-old Russian Air Force pilot, can be on his second spaceflight, having beforehand served with Rubins on Expedition 49 in 2016. Kud-Sverchkov, a 37-year-old aerospace engineer, is on his first mission.

Soyuz MS-17 is Russia’s 63rd Soyuz spacecraft to launch for the International Space Station since 2000 and 146th to fly because the first Soyuz mission in 1967. It is the one hundredth spacecraft to launch a crew towards the area station, together with the Soyuz MS-10 in-flight abort in 2018.

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