Three hours and three minutes. This is the time that separates the cosmopolitan of Baikonur, in Kazakhstan, from the International Space Station. The new flight plan was tested today: the Soyuz MS-17 mission took off at 2:45 am by the time in Braslia with astronaut Kate Rubins, from the United States, and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, from Russia.
After the departure, Soyuz joined Estao at 5:48 am through Brasilia. After checking the capsule pressurization, the new crew joined Chris Cassidy, from the United States, and Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, from Russia, who were already on board. So far, trips took six hours on the old express route or two days with the most conservative approach.
This was the last time that American astronauts traveled on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. The next American manned mission there will be Crew-1, on a Falcon 9 rocket with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
On board will be three American astronauts, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and a Japanese, Soichi Noguchi. The launch is scheduled for October 31.
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