A three-person crew on Wednesday successfully reached the International Space Station on a Russian rocket on Wednesday morning after the fastest journey of barely three hours from Earth.
For the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the mission of the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian astronauts and a NASA astronaut was crucial, while the SpaceX program relaunched the crew spacelight from the United States and ignited new talk of space racing between the two countries.
“A new record was set for flights to the International Space Station – the total docking time from the launch of the Soyuz MS-17 was three hours and three minutes,” Roscosmos said.
After the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, Roscosmos was tasked with transporting US astronauts to the ISS.
Sergei Ryazikov and Sergey Kud-Sverkov of Roscosmos and Kathleen Rubins of NASA inaugurated the event on Wednesday at 0545 GMT from the Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmotrom in Kazakhstan.
The ISS journey usually takes about six hours – a time that was a big improvement over the previous two-day flights before 2013.
Wednesday’s crew trip also beat the fastest time for a mission carrying supplies just to the station.
This profile has previously been used in only one degraded Progress Cargo spacecraft that requires only two orbits before King King.
The launch is sandwiched between two SpaceX missions – the first crew spaceflight for the ISS since 2011 under the auspices of NASA.
Before May 30, U.S. astronauts Robert Banksy and Dr. Doug Hurley’s car crashed into the ISS Courtesy Rocket businessman Elon Musk was approached when Russia and Baikonar had an attractive monopoly on the pro-ISS crew mission.
But his Dragon Endeavor craft successfully docked with the ISS about nineteen hours after it reached orbit.
The NASA pair made a safe return on August 2 and a new launch of SpaceX, this time in anticipation of a full-length half-year mission to the space station, is expected next month.
The emergence of private players SpaceX and Boeing – part of NASA’s commercial crew program – has fueled discussions of a new “space race” among many countries.
But the men and women who fly to the space station speak of competition and focus on the ability of space travel to bring rival countries together for a common purpose.
Speaking at a pre-launch press conference on Tuesday, Rubin did not directly mention the SpaceX flight when asked how she felt about being on board during a new era of space exploration.
“We don’t like our launch date or what happens on the station, but I feel extremely lucky to be on the station when these events are happening,” the American astronaut said.
Strict precautions, including tight quarantine and wearing masks before launch, have been taken due to the coronavirus epidemic, but astronauts and space officials denied any concerns about the risk of infection on the ISS.
“We have a very strict quarantine, almost from my assumption since March,” said Rubins, a microbiologist who researched the deadly Ebola virus before training as an astronaut.
Ryzykov, a 46-year-old former military pilot, has spent 173 days in space compared to Rubins’ 115, while Kud-Sverkov, 37, is flying for the first time.
On the eve of the launch, Ryazikov lamented the ongoing fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and said he hoped the example of the ISS could help “spread love, friendship and camaraderie.”
The ISS, which has occupied the country permanently since 2000, is a rare example of cooperation between Moscow and Washington Washington.
Rogozin said Monday he did not envisage Moscow participating in a “massive” orbit at a NASA-led lunar orbit called Gasway.
Rogozin said the proposed new station is “very central to the US centric”.
The Russian space program has faced a series of adversities in recent years, most notably the failure of the Soyuz rocket in 2018 just minutes after the blast – the first such event in the history of post-Soviet space travel. Two astronauts were not injured in the morning.
ન્સી Agency France-Press