Russian-US crew launches on fast track to the space station

In this news, we discuss the Russian-US crew launches on fast track to the space station.

A trio of space travelers successfully launched onto the International Space Station, using for the first time an accelerated maneuver to reach the orbiting outpost in just three hours. Kate Rubins of NASA with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Russian space agency Roscosmos took off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Baikonur space launch facility rented by Russia in Kazakhstan for a six-month stay on the station .

For the first time, they are trying a two-orbit and three-hour approach of the space outpost in orbit. Previously, crews took twice as long to reach the station. They will join NASA station commander Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been on board the complex since April and are expected to return to Earth within a week.

Speaking at the pre-launch press conference on Tuesday in Baikonur, Rubins pointed out that the crew had spent weeks in quarantine at the Star City training center outside Moscow and then in Baikonur to avoid any threat of coronavirus. “We spent two weeks in Star City, then 17 days in Baikonur in a very strict quarantine,” Rubins said.

“During all communication with the crew members, we wore masks. We did PCR tests twice and we also did rapid antigen tests three times. She said she looked forward to the science experiments planned for the mission. “We’re planning to try out some really interesting things like bioprinting tissue and growing cells in space and of course continuing our work on DNA sequencing,” Rubins said.

Ryzhikov, who will be the station’s skipper, said the crew will try to pinpoint the exact location of a leak in the Russian section of a station that has slowly leaked oxygen. The small leak did not pose any immediate danger to the crew. “We will take additional equipment with us that will allow us to more precisely detect the location of this leak,” he told reporters. “We will also be taking additional improved airtight equipment with us to help repair the leak.” In November, Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are set to host NASA’s first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, bringing in NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and astronaut from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency Soichi Noguchi at the space station aboard the Crew Dragon vehicle. It follows a successful Demo-2 mission earlier this year.

The Crew Dragon mission has been postponed from October 31 to November, and no new date has been set yet. The delay is intended to give SpaceX more time to perform tests and review data from an interrupted Falcon 9 launch earlier this month.

News Highlights:

  • Kate Rubins of NASA with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Russian space agency Roscosmos took off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Baikonur space launch facility rented by Russia in Kazakhstan for a six-month stay on the station . For the first time, they are trying a two-orbit and three-hour approach of the space outpost in orbit.
  • Russian-American crew rush to space station
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