Thursday, September 26, 2013

Soyuz TMA-10M Arrives at the International Space Station

The Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft has arrived at the International Space Station.

The Soyuz spacecraft, carrying cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, successfully docked to the space station's Poisk Module at 3:45 a.m. IST.

This comes after the trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just six hours earlier at 9:58 p.m. After completing just four orbits of the Earth, the Soyuz performed a series of rendezvous maneuvers and orbital burns to set up for a docking to the station this morning.

This is only the third time a Soyuz has used this six hour launch to docking, instead of the traditional two day journey.

It wasn't long before the hatches between the Soyuz and the orbiting laboratory were opened at 5:34 a.m. The newly launched trio were welcomed aboard the ISS by station commander Fyodor Yurchikin, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, who themselves have been living aboard station since May.

The station has now been restored to its full six person capacity, with the entire Expedition 37 crew now aboard the orbiting complex. The six astronauts and cosmonauts will continue the science which is currently being investigated 250 miles above our heads in Low-Earth Orbit.

The arrival of the Soyuz TMA-10M comes less than a week ahead of the arrival of the Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft, which is making its maiden voyage to the International Space Station, and is scheduled to dock this weekend.

Expedition 37 will come to an end in November, when it will be time for Yurchikin, Parmitano and Nyberg to return to Earth. But for now, it's full steam ahead for spaceship ISS, orbiting the planet at over 17,500mph.