Three astronauts dock at ISS within three hours of launch

James Marshall
November 22, 2020

The new Expedition 64 is said to begin on Oct 21, Wednesday, with the coming departure of Vagner, Ivanishin, and also Cassidy in the known Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that previously brought them to the known space station back on April 9.

NASA's Kate Rubins along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the station.

For the first time, they tried a two-orbit approach and docked with the space station in just a little over three hours after lift-off.

Roscosmos has had the job of ferrying USA astronauts to the ISS since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Expedition 64 crew members (from left) Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in front of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. As the Soyuz spacecraft is compact and cramped, it makes for a terribly uncomfortably journey for the astronauts on board, so getting to the Station as quickly as possible is the best way forward. The NASA team returned securely on August 2 and a new SpaceX launch, this time envisioning a full-length half-year mission to the space station, is normal one month from now.

A NASA TV commentator said everything was normal, citing communications between Russian mission control and the crew, while Roscosmos said the capsule had successfully gone into orbit. Severe precautionary measures, including more tight quarantine and cover wearing before launch, have been taken due to the Covid pandemic however the astronauts and space authorities dismissed any worries about a danger of contamination on the ISS.

Before joining the USA space agency, NASA, Rubins worked as a microbiologist and was involved in research on viruses.

This is cosmonaut Kud-Sverchkov's first flight into space and he is Flight Engineer 1. "It has been tested with Progress [cargo] vehicles", Ryzhikov said in a pre-launch press conference on Tuesday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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