Published: Sun, November 22, 2020
Science | By

Latest Space Station crew docks in record time following successful launch

Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and NASA's Kathleen Rubins launched from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0545 GMT Wednesday.

Previous Soyuz journeys to the space station had followed a six-hour track or two-day path.

- An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have launched to the International Space Station just ahead of and to extend 20 years of a continuous human presence in Earth orbit. The record was set during an unmanned resupply mission in August 2019. Just an uncrewed Progress freight space transport has recently utilized this profile which requires only two circles before docking.

In May, after five years of development, Elon Musk's aeronautics company, SpaceX, and NASA, launched the first manned flight from USA soil in almost a decade.

Before May 30, when United States astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived at the ISS, Russia and Baikonur had enjoyed a lucrative monopoly on manned missions to the ISS.

At the time of publishing, the spacecraft had already reached the station and Expedition 64 was busy docking to the ISS.

She said she was looking forward to scientific experiments planned for the mission.

Speaking during Tuesday's pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, Rubins emphasized that the crew spent weeks in quarantine at the Star City training facility outside Moscow and then on Baikonur to avoid any threat from the coronavirus.

The Crew Dragon mission was pushed back from October 31 into November, and no new date has been set yet. "We have an incredible partnership", Rubins said in an interview from Russia's Star City before her flight.

"We have a very strict quarantine, nearly from March by my perception", said Rubins, a microbiologist who researched the deadly Ebola virus before she began training as an astronaut.

This is actually the second spaceflight for Ryzhikov, Rubins, and Kud-Sverchkov and also will make them the 241st people to visit this unique microgravity laboratory.

Rogozin on Monday said he did not envisage Moscow participating "on a large scale" in a NASA-led Moon-orbiting station known as The Gateway.

The proposed new station "is too US-centric" Rogozin said.

The Russian space program has endured a progression of switches lately, most prominently the disappointment of a Soyuz rocket in 2018 only minutes after take off - the primary such episode throughout the entire existence of post-Soviet space travel.

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