A Russian Soyuz spacecraft successfully delivered three space men to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday.
The crewmates arrived and docked with the International Space Station 5:54 P.M. EDT, which is a little over six hours after the spacecraft launched from the Earth’s surface. The Soyuz spacecraft’s air hatches didn’t open until about two hours after the docking so that air checks could be performed to ensure everyone’s safety.
Image Credit: NASA
American astronaut Randy Bresnik, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli joined the current crew onboard the floating space lab, which included Fyodor Yurchikhin, Peggy Whitson, and Jack Fischer.
Those already on the International Space Station at the time of the docking welcomed the new three space men onboard.
With six space scientists now fired up and ready to go on the International Space Station, space agencies can crank out science experiments more quickly than before and take care of more space missions, such as planned future spacewalks.
The full video showing the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft docking with the International Space Station can be viewed here:
Soon, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch to resupply the International Space Station with a fresh batch of food and science experiments. The exact time and date of the launch are unknown, but a general estimate of “mid-August” has been provided.
Worthy of note, Roscosmos recently slashed their presence on the International Space Station from three cosmonauts to just two. To compensate for the reduced human presence on Russia’s side, NASA and the European Space Agency send an extra crew member from their teams to keep things from slowing down in the lab.
Everything will remain how it is until September 3rd, after which Fyodor Yurchikhin, Peggy Whitson, and Jack Fischer will return home. In following weeks, new astronauts will visit the International Space Station to take their place, continuing the cycle.
Starting in 2018, NASA will give commercial space companies like Boeing and SpaceX the opportunity to launch crewed missions to the International Space Station. This move will bring astronaut launches back to American soil for the first time since 2011, giving NASA more fine-grained control over their initiatives.
Source: CBS News