New crew reaches ISS in record time - Science & Tech

Katie Ramirez
November 15, 2020

Kate Rubins, the NASA astronaut, as well as Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov, the cosmonauts coming from the Russian space agency known as Roscosmos recently joined the Expedition63 Commander known as Chris Cassidy of NASA as well as Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, the cosmonauts, aboard the ISS.

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. Since the last space shuttle's last flight in 2011, the only way NASA astronauts could get to the station was the Russian Soyuz rocket. Both times, the exit to the open space will be closely related to the uncoupling and subsequent collapse of Pirs module, which should be replaced in April by Nauka segment. As for NASA's other commercial crew partner, Boeing, it's still working to remedy a host of problems revealed during that underwhelming launch of its CST-100 Starliner late a year ago.

This will expand the long-duration Expedition crew up to seven people for the very first time. The Soyuz capsule orbits Earth only twice for three hours in space before docking to the International Space Station. And Rubins is Flight Engineer 2, going into her second flight to space.

For the first time, they are trying a two-orbit, three-hour approach to the orbiting space outpost.

It is reported that all those present at the start, including the crew members, were wearing masks.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft docked at the ISS
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft docked at the ISS

According to Roscosmos, the fastest a spacecraft has ever reached the ISS is 3 hours 19 minutes.

The current flight is not the most interesting for this. Roscosmos does this by launching its Soyuz rocket just prior to the ISS passing directly overhead.

The emergence of private players SpaceX and Boeing - part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program - has fuelled talk of a new "space race" between a number of countries.

The Soyuz rocket that will launch three Expedition 64 crewmates to the station on Wednesday stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA hoped they would be ready past year, but when more delays seemed imminent, the space agency purchased the last Soyuz seat. Docking will take place around 4:52 AM on Wednesday, and the crew must board the ISS within 2 hours. However, NASA has not yet announced such a deal, so it is unclear when the next American astronauts will fly aboard the Soyuz after performing this mission.

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