• 43°

Russian spacecraft docks with International Space Station

MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts has successfully docked with the International Space Station, bringing the size of the crew at the orbiting lab to six.
Chris Cassidy of the United States and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin traveled six hours in the capsule before linking up with the space station’s Russian Rassvet research module. It was the first time a space crew has taken such a direct route.
The incoming crew will spend five months in space before returning to Earth.
Their mission began with a late-night launch from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.
Instead of the two-day approach maneuver used by Soyuz spacecraft in the past, this journey to the station took just under six hours.
The Soyuz TMA-08M lifted off on time from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome at 2:43 a.m. Friday (4:43 p.m. EDT Thursday).
The new maneuver was tested successfully by three Russian Progress cargo ships, unmanned versions of the Soyuz used to ferry supplies to the space station.
Vinogradov joked at a pre-launch news conference at Baikonur that the journey to the station would be so quick that it could allow the crew to even carry ice cream as a present to the three men currently manning the orbiting outpost.
“It wouldn’t melt in such a short time,” he said.
On a more serious note, Vinogradov added that the shorter flight path would reduce the crew’s fatigue and allow astronauts to be in top shape for the docking. He said that it takes about five hours for the human body to start feeling the impact of zero gravity, so the quicker flight would allow the crew to more easily adapt to weightlessness in much roomier space station interiors.
The downside of the accelerated rendezvous is that the crew will have to stay in their spacesuits, which they don hours before the launch, through the entire approach maneuver.
Other Russian cosmonauts in the past have described the two-day approach maneuver in the cramped Soyuz as one of the most grueling parts of missions to the orbiting station. The spheroid orbiting capsule allows the crew to take off their bulky spacesuits, change into more comfortable clothes and use a toilet, but its interior is extremely confined.
The ship’s spartan layout lacks adequate heating and fails to provide an opportunity for the crew to get hot food. It contrasts sharply with the spacious U.S. space shuttle, whose retirement has left Soyuz as the only means to deliver crews to the space outpost.
Russian space officials said the longer approach was necessary at a time when the station was in a lower orbit required for the shuttle flights. After they ended, it was raised from 217 miles to 249 miles, making a quicker rendezvous possible.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

State to vaccinate medically vulnerable starting March 24

Coronavirus

One new death, 20 new COVID-19 positives reported in Rowan

Kannapolis

Kannapolis man dies in moped crash

Crime

Salisbury Police chief addresses K-9 video, says officer separated from animal

Local

Rowan Rescue Squad sets record straight on fundraising typo

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate

News

Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle

Ask Us

Ask Us: What programs exist for litter cleanup?

Business

County begins accepting restaurant grant applications

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses

Nation/World

Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief

Nation/World

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Nation/World

Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment

Nation/World

Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police