• Astronauts from Russia and USA en route to the ISS

    From Aviation HQ@2:292/854 to All on Wed Sep 21 23:22:51 2022
    Despite tensions between the US and Russia over the war in Ukraine, astronauts from both countries have left for the International Space Station together.

    A launch vehicle of the Soyuz 2.1a type took off from the base in Baykonur in Kazakhstan at 3:54 PM CET, according to images from NASA. The rocket has to hurl a Soyuz MS-22 capsule towards the space station. If everything goes according to plan, the capsule will arrive there three hours after take-off. After landing, it is automatically linked to the Russian Rassvet module.

    The passengers are Russians Sergei Prokopjev and Dmitri Petelin, and American Frank Rubio. Rubio is the first American in a Soyuz since April 2021. Earlier this year, the American space agency NASA and its Russian counterpart Roskosmos signed a "seat swapping" agreement.

    This allows American astronauts to fly Russian spaceships and Russian cosmonauts with SpaceX's Dragon, with NASA providing manned transport to and from the ISS. In October, Anna Kikina, currently the only active female cosmonaut, flies on a Crew Dragon to the space station.

    The crew who departed Wednesday will have to walk in space five times during their 188-day stay. They are also expected to conduct 48 experiments, launch satellites and perform tasks related to the equipment of the space station. Remarkably, their duties also include playing soccer on the ISS. During previous missions, the space station has also played tennis and badminton. In addition to the three crew members, the Soyuz carries hygiene and medical items, scientific equipment and personal items belonging to the crew on board.

    --- DB4 - 20220519
    * Origin: AVIATION ECHO HQ (2:292/854)