Soyuz docks at ISS carrying Russian, US, Japanese astronauts

June 9, 2011
A Soyuz TMA-02M carrying US astronaut Michael Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa blasts off from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome early on June 8. A Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian, a US and a Japanese astronaut aboard docked Thursday at the International Space Station, the Russian control centre said.

A Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian, a US and a Japanese astronaut aboard docked Thursday at the International Space Station, the Russian control centre said.

"The Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft docked at the ISS automatically" around 1:20 am Moscow time on Friday (2120 GMT Thursday), said Valeri Lyndin, a spokesman for the Tsup control centre in a Moscow suburb.

The spacecraft carrying American Mike Fossum, Russian Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan had lifted off on Tuesday at about 2012 GMT from the launchpad at Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The three join Russians Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko and American Ronald Garan. They will spend the next half year aboard the ISS.

Fossum is a veteran of two shuttle flights while Volkov has already had one stint aboard the ISS in 2008. Furukawa is making his first space flight.

The launch came just a month before NASA is scheduled to launch the space shuttle for the last time before it is taken out of service.

After the flight by the , Russia's Soyuz -- whose basic design has changed little since the dawn of human space flight -- will become the sole means for transporting humans to the ISS.

It is expected to be some years before NASA introduces a replacement for the Soyuz.

The extra pressure on the space programme coincides with a time of turbulence at Russia's space agency, which saw its long-serving head Anatoly Perminov fired by the government after a string of failures.

The Soyuz launch is Russia's first under new Roskosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin after Perminov's sacking in April.

Popovkin faces the task of reforming an agency still reeling from its most embarrassing space failures in recent times in December when three navigation satellites crashed into the ocean instead of reaching orbit.

This and other technical issues cast a shadow on the 50th anniversary year in 2011 of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight, still celebrated in Russia as one of its greatest achievements.

Russia is now using a new version of the that has been the lynchpin of Moscow's space programme over the last decades.

The new spacecraft has a new onboard movement control and navigation system as well as a new onboard measuring system.

Explore further: Russia to stay at Baikonur until 2020

Related Stories

Russian rocket docks with space station

December 17, 2010

A Russian Soyuz space rocket carrying three astronauts on Friday docked with the International Space Station (ISS), Russia's mission control said.

Space image: In the light of the sun

June 7, 2011

( -- The Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft is seen at the launch pad after being raised into vertical position on Sunday, June 5, 2011, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Recommended for you

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...

What are white holes?

October 9, 2015

Black holes are created when stars die catastrophically in a supernova. So what in the universe is a white hole?

Image: Pluto's blue sky

October 9, 2015

Pluto's haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn's moon ...

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2011
Sub:Space-Trust-World Peace
Continue the trend and build-up trust. identify more avenues through Space-Wisdom council-cosmology World Peace.Lead frontiers help sustain the Spirit of cooperation. Neutral Governance help in this endeavour.
Vidyardhi nanduri [cosmology World Peace]

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.