Rocket prepared for Soyuz space launch

March 31, 2010

(AP) -- Technicians at a space center in Kazakhstan have hoisted a rocket onto its launch pad ahead of Friday's blastoff of a NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

NASA's Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko are to blast off at 10:04 a.m. (0404 GMT) Friday for their six-month mission in the orbiting science lab.

Workers at the craft's storage hangar slid open the gate just before daybreak Wednesday and mounted the Soyuz rocket on a flatbed train for slow transit to the launch site.

Armed police with sniffer dogs walked ahead of the train and a helicopter circled overhead amid heightened security following the Moscow subway bombings, which killed dozens of people.

Explore further: First-time cosmonauts set to blast off with toy duck


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4.7 / 5 (3) Mar 31, 2010
The Soyuz system is terrific. In some ways it's like driving a '57 Chevy. A freshly tuned and rigorously maintained old car is just as reliable as a brand new one, but much cheaper to operate. The only possible improvement would be solid fuel boosters, because of their simplicity. I hope NASA doesn't completely abandon their solid-fuel booster program.
4 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2010
Solid fuel boosters can't be regulated the way chemical rockets can. There is no throttle, and this makes them dangerous, and in a sense more primitive than conventional liquid fueled rockets, since they are more like the rocket kits we had as kids,over which we had absolutely no control once they ignited.

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