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Soyuz Delivers Astronauts to ISS in Three Hours

Soyuz Delivers Astronauts to ISS in Three Hours

Friday, 16 October, 2020 - 05:45
International Space Station (ISS) crew members astronaut Nick Hague of the U.S. (rear) and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russia board the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 11, 2018. REUTERS(WYMT)

After just three hours on its launch, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two Russian cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut, docked with the International Space Station (ISS) according to the scheduled timetable, breaking a new speed record.

"The Soyuz MS-17 carrying NASA's Kathleen Rubins and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov from Russia, docked with the station," a statement by Roscosmos said.

The Russian space agency stated: "A new record for flights to the International Space Station was set – the total time from launch to docking of the Soyuz MS-17 was three hours and three minutes."

The three astronauts launched from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, as shown in pictures shared by both the Russian and US agencies.

"The spacecraft entered the orbit successfully," Roscosmos wrote on Twitter.

In one of the few cooperation areas left between Russia and the West, the three astronauts have joined other colleagues on ISS, Chris Cassidy (NASA), Anatoly Ivanishin, and Ivan Vagner (Roscosmos), who are set to return to Earth on October 22.

The Soyuz mission is one of two launches to the International Space Station. The other will be carried out by SpaceX, which will enable the US to send astronauts again to space.

Before May 30, when US astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived at the ISS, Russia and Baikonur had enjoyed a lucrative monopoly on manned missions to the ISS.

The two astronauts returned to Earth on August 2. The SpaceX upcoming mission is scheduled in November and will include four astronauts: three Americans and one Japanese.

The emergence of private players SpaceX and Boeing - part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program - has fuelled talk of a new space race between a number of countries.

But the men and women that fly to the space station have played down talk of competition and focused instead on space travel's ability to bring rival nations together for a common cause.

Speaking at a pre-launch press conference, Rubins did not directly refer to the SpaceX flight, saying "I feel incredibly lucky to be on station."

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