Russian-U.S. crew launches on fast track to the space station

22 Novembre, 2020, 02:30 | Auteur: Therese Cote

14 de octubre de 2020, 12:42Moscow, Oct 14 (Prensa Latina) The Soyuz-2.1a rocket on Wednesday left from platform 31 at the Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome to take the Russian manned Soyuz MC-17 spacecraft with three cosmonauts on board, local television reported.

NASA's Kate Rubins, and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, will attempt a fast-track maneuver to reach the ISS in three hours.

They have begun a two-orbit, three-hour flight to reach the International Space Station and join the Expedition 63 crew.

Ahead of the launch, the NASA astronaut had expressed her excitement to Space.com. The record was set during an unmanned resupply mission in August 2019.

In May, after five years of development, Elon Musk's aeronautics company, SpaceX, and NASA, launched the first manned flight from U.S. soil in almost a decade.

The new astronauts came aboard from the Soyuz spacecraft and the known orbiting laboratory at officially 7:07AM EDT.

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A NASA TV commentator said everything was normal, citing communications between Russian mission control and the crew, while Roscosmos said the capsule had successfully gone into orbit.

Stringent precautions, including tighter quarantine and mask-wearing before launch, have been taken due to the coronavirus pandemic but the astronauts and space officials rejected any concerns about a risk of infection on the ISS.

"We have a very strict quarantine, nearly from March by my perception", said Rubins, a microbiologist who researched the deadly Ebola virus before she began training as an astronaut.

In 2016, Rubins sequenced DNA in space for the first time.

Their six-month mission will coincide with the space station's 20th anniversary marking 20 years of continuous human presence. Just before the launch, Ryzhikov communicated misery over progressing battling in Nagorno-Karabakh and said he trusted the case of the ISS could help "spread love, kinship and comradeship".

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