Soyuz crew relocates to new space station parking spot – Spaceflight Now

EDITOR’S NOTE: Up to date at 1:20 p.m. EDT (1720 GMT) after docking.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft is seen throughout a flyaround of the Worldwide Area Station on Friday. At left is a photo voltaic array of a Northrop Cygnus cargo freighter. Credit score: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now

Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut strapped into their Soyuz spacecraft Friday and moved the capsule to a unique docking port on the Worldwide Area Station, clearing the way in which arrival of a contemporary crew subsequent month.

Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov manually managed the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft through the relocation maneuver. Cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins have been additionally aboard the spaceship.

All three crew members launched contained in the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft in October, and are scheduled to return to Earth on April 17. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft has custom-fitted seat liners for every crew member, and all three have been aboard for the relocation maneuver Friday, able to return to Earth in case of issues reconnecting with the house station.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft undocked from the house station’s Russian Rassvet module at 12:38 p.m. EDT (1638 GMT) Thursday. Rassvet is situated on the decrease half, or the Earth-facing aspect, of the house station’s Russian phase.

Ryzhikov, a 46--old former Russian Air Power fighter pilot, flew the Soyuz spacecraft away from the Rassvet module. After backing away to a distance of about 130 ft (40 meters), Ryzhikov carried out a flyaround maneuver across the rear aspect of the house station to succeed in a place above the complicated round.

The commander then guided the Soyuz spacecraft to a handbook docking with the Poisk module on the higher half, or space-facing aspect, of the house station’s Russian phase. Docking occurred at for 1:12 p.m. EDT (1712 GMT) to wrap up the 34-minute maneuver.

The undocking, flyaround maneuver, and re-docking all occurred whereas the Soyuz and house station soared all over the world at a velocity of roughly 5 miles (eight kilometers) per second.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov, and flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Credit score: NASA/GCTC/Roscosmos

The crew relocated the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft to clear the way in which for the subsequent Soyuz mission to dock with the Rassvet module after launching April 9 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russian commander Oleg Novitskiy, flight engineer Pyotr Dubrov, and NASA astronaut Vande Hei will launch on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft. Novitskiy and his crewmates will exchange the Soyuz MS-17 crew members on the house station earlier than their April 17 homecoming.

Russian officers need the Soyuz MS-18 mission to dock with the Rassvet module, and never Poisk, to permit cosmonauts to make use of Poisk for a spacewalk later this 12 months to assist put together for the arrival of Russia’s Nauka laboratory module.

The house station’s Poisk and modules double as docking ports and airlocks for spacewalks. A Progress provide ship that arrived on the station final month will take away the Poisk module later this 12 months to make room for the Nauka laboratory on the decrease docking place on the Zvezda module.

The Nauka lab module is scheduled for launch in July from Baikonur on a Russian Proton rocket. It is going to be probably the most vital addition to the Russian a part of the house station since 2000, when the Zvezda module itself was launched.

This was the 19th Soyuz port relocation in Worldwide Area Station historical past, and the primary since August 2019.

Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov, and Rubins are presently residing on the house station with 4 crewmates who launched in November aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Dragon commander Mike Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialists Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker will climb aboard their Crew Dragon capsule April 5 to carry out an identical port relocation maneuver, releasing up the house station’s ahead docking port for the arrival of the subsequent Crew Dragon on April 23.

In contrast to the Soyuz relocation, the Crew Dragon will undock and dock robotically, with Hopkins and his crewmates monitoring programs and able to take handbook management if essential.

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Observe Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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