Soyuz docks at ISS carrying Russian, US, Japanese astronauts

Jun 09, 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: Chilly end for sex geckos sent into space by Russia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Space image: In the light of the sun

Jun 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

Russian rocket docks with space station

Dec 17, 2010

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

Recommended for you

Caterpillar comet poses for pictures en route to Mars

17 hours ago

Now that's pure gorgeous. As Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring sidles towards its October 19th encounter with Mars, it's passing a trio of sumptuous deep sky objects near the south celestial pole this week. ...

Hoisting a telescope with helium

17 hours ago

Many a child has forgotten to hold tight to the string of a helium balloon only to have it escape and rise until it disappeared in the glare of the sun. Helium balloons want to rise, but launching a balloon ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

vidyunmaya
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]