Friday, 17 November, 2017

Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off

Charles Symonyi Charles Symonyi
Theresa Hayes | 21 April, 2017, 19:47

The spacecraft has reached low Earth orbit and is heading for the International Space Station (ISS), according to the source.

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying US astronaut Jack Fischer, 43, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, 58, lifted off at 1:13 p.m. local time/3:13 a.m. EDT (0713 GMT) with a rare empty third seat.

NASA TV will provide live streaming coverage of the launch beginning at 2:15 a.m. EDT.

NASA's Jack Fischer and Russia's Fyodor Yurchikhin lifted off from the Russia-leased launch facility in Kazakhstan at 1:13 p.m. Thursday (0713 GMT, 3:13 a.m. EDT).

Thus the overall station crew complement of astronauts and cosmonauts increases to five - from the US, Russia and France - representing their respective space agencies and countries.

Ms Whitson, a station commander, is going to become the U.S. astronaut who has spent the most cumulative time in space - surpassing the 534 days served by Jeff Williams.

During his time on the orbital complex, Kimbrough participated in several Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts.

Mr Yurchikhin, 58, has made four space flights before but his NASA rookie crewmate is on his maiden voyage, and fears figuring out how to use the zero-gravity toilets aboard the ISS may be his biggest challenge.

Prior to docking the crew accomplished an approximately 10 min flyaround inside the Soyuz shortly before sunrise and beautyfully backdropped by earth towards the end at a distance of roughly several hundred meters away. The crew could have intervened if needed. However, there wasn't time to accelerate the training of a crew member to add to this week's launch.

Fischer and Yurchikhin, making his fifth space flight, will spend more than four months aboard the orbiting station before also returning to Earth in September. By reducing the number of its crew members, Russia will need to fly fewer Progress cargo ships, which deliver food and supplies to the Russian side of the station.

The SS John Glenn is expected to arrive at the station early Saturday morning on April 22. Once they arrive at the station, they'll join the three astronauts already living in the orbiting lab and will become part of Expedition 51.

Cosmic Quiz: Do You Know the International Space Station?