Published: Mon, December 28, 2020
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US, Russian crew blasts off for International Space Station

US, Russian crew blasts off for International Space Station

It was the last time NASA paid for one of its astronauts to fly with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, before the USA program begins launching astronauts to the ISS in the new SpaceX Crew Dragon. The Russians have managed to curtail it further still, with today's three-hour-and-three-minute trek, which is a new record (the previous record was three hours and 18 minutes, set by the Progress MS-17 cargo spacecraft on July 23, 2020).

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

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. Back in the day, these trips to the ISS took upwards of 50 hours.

Wednesday was the first time a manned journey was completed in such a short time, even beating the fastest time of missions carrying supplies to the station.

"This two-orbit rendezvous has been modeled for quite awhile now". The Crew-2 mission, with astronauts from NASA, JAXA and the European Space Agency, will follow in the spring of 2021.

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.

NASA tweeted after launching at 4:45 a.m., the trio successfully docked with ESS at 4:48 p.m.

With the launch of SpaceX's second astronaut at the end of the month, the number of people on the space station has increased from six to seven, so the Cygnus capsule contains more fresh food than usual.

But the men and women that fly to the space station have played down talk of competition and focused instead on space travel's ability to bring rival nations together for a common cause. 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. "We have an incredible partnership", Rubins said in an interview from Russia's Star City before her flight. 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. A medical researcher, Rubins is the first scientist to sequence DNA in space, according to NASA.

The three astronauts who welcomed Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are already set to return to Earth on October 21.

The ISS, which has been permanently occupied since 2000, has been a rare example of cooperation between Moscow and Washington. Rogozin on Monday said he didn't conceive Moscow taking an interest "for a huge scope" in a NASA-drove Moon-orbiting station known as The Gateway.

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

A Soyuz rocket on Wednesday blasted off carrying two Russian cosmonauts and a USA astronaut.

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