There are now five spaceships parked at the space station

September 29, 2014 by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Five spacecraft are parked at the International Space Station including the Soyuz TMA-14M and Dragon which docked this week. Credit: NASA

Mars isn't the only place in the Solar System that was busy this week with arriving spacecraft. While NASA's MAVEN and ISRO's MOM arrived in orbit around the Red Planet, the International Space Station also welcomed two arriving spacecraft, bringing the total of docked ships at the ISS to five.

Last night, the Expedition 41/42 crew arrived—peeling in on one solar panel on their Soyuz TMA-14M—with the first female cosmonaut to be part of an ISS crew, Elena Serova along with her crewmates cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev, and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore. They took the Soyuz "fast track," arriving at the station in just under six hours after launch. One of the craft's solar panels jammed and couldn't deploy, but the crew docked to Poisk docking compartment without indecent.

The arrival of Wilmore, Samokutyaev and Serova returns the station's crew complement to six. Already on board are Commander Max Suraev of Roscosmos, Reid Wiseman of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency. They have been aboard the complex since May.

Earlier this week, on September 23, the SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived with over 2.5 tons of science experiments and supplies for the crew.

Also docked to the is the Soyuz ship that will take Suraev, Wiseman and Gerst home, a Progress resupply ship and the European ATV-5 supply ship.

There are two more cargo missions targeted to launch to the space station before the end of the year. Orbital Sciences just announced October 20 as the next launch date for their Cygnus commercial space freighter. It will occupy the same Harmony node port as Dragon when it leaves in a few weeks. When Cygnus vacates the Harmony node port, SpaceX CRS-5 will replace it in December.

Screenshot from NASA TV of the Soyuz-TMA14M arriving with just one solar panel deployed.

Explore further: NASA image: Sunrise at the Soyuz launch pad

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not rated yet Sep 29, 2014
Murphy's Law strikes again! As of 1430Z on 9/29/2014, a paragraph containing "...with the first female cosmonaut to be part of an ISS crew..." ends with "...the crew docked to Poisk docking compartment without indecent."

Please correct!
5 / 5 (1) Sep 29, 2014
We should start calling it a space dock
1 / 5 (1) Sep 29, 2014
I tell ya, nothin' good can come of this!

(Gotta love it!)
3 / 5 (2) Sep 29, 2014
What a sad state of affairs. Evey effort is being made to prevent the use of nuclear reactors for power, because if one does, you can't tell others not to. So these pathetic space sampans has to be small, thin, lightweight, slow as snails and have pitiful payload, as well as powered by by sneezy thrusters and sunlight, for god's sake! ...and a few shots from an AK or M16 will permanently put all of them out of action...
4.3 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2014
...and a few shots from an AK or M16 will permanently put all of them out of action...

What are you babbeling about.

Note that nuclear reactors are heavy. You need some form of (again : heavy) containment if you want to operate this near personell safely. And you'd need at least two to have a failsafe backup (which makes it doubly heavy). The solar panels are much better: resilient against local damage and easy to maintain.

We can think about nuclear reactors once we want to build ships that move outwards past Mars (or on a Moon or Mars base, where it could be buried to shield it). But for stuff in low earth orbit with a limited lifetime (i.e. which will eventually burn up in the atmosphere) having nuclear reactors aboard is just a stupid idea.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2014
Future deep space missions will use nuclear reactors to generate electricity to power ion thrusters. NASA's High Power Electric Propulsion (HiPEP) engine has produced continuous thrust for over 48,000 hours (5.5 years):

Why use ion thrusters? It is because of their extremely high specific impulse, which is basically off the chart.From Wikipedia: "The higher the specific impulse, the lower the propellant flow rate required for a given thrust" http://en.wikiped..._impulse
3 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2014
You need some form of (again : heavy) containment if you want to operate this near personell safely.
In space containment is not such an issue, all you need is distance so a long pole would suffice.
Though I do agree that nuclear rectors in low earth orbit is a stupid idea.
not rated yet Oct 02, 2014
@AA: I just point out the flimsiness of the current crafts due to limitations by way of example. Technically, you are mostly correct. Motivationally, you are for the status quo. Look at the Egyptians' hieroglyphs. For more than a thousand years, they never bothered to depict the people in a proper perspective. That says something about their attitude. Tell me about the last 10 generations of compact nuclear reactors. Can't? because there was none. Until you lot think about nuclear reactors in the same terms as the automobile and the microprocessors, you are stuck with clunky and gargantuan contraptions. Please explicitly point out to me that the current implementations of nuclear reactors can't be improved in anyway at all. There are hordes of smart engineers who would find solutions and improvements if nuclear reactors are used and treated the same ways as the first internal combustion engines. You can't improve a thing if you are not allowed or able to work on it.

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