Crewed Soyuz MS-17 Launch To ISS Only Took 3 Hours

Pablo Tucker
November 15, 2020

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov took off at just before 2 AM EDT, and docked with the ISS at 4:48 AM EDT - three hours and two minutes after liftoff.

The journey marks the first time a Soyuz crew has taken the fast-track, two-orbit rendezvous path to the space station.

In November, Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are set to greet NASA's SpaceX first operational Crew Dragon mission, bringing NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the space station aboard the Crew Dragon vehicle.

These were the details of the news New crew reaches ISS in record time - Science & Tech for this day.

Typically, there's a bit of a delay between when astronauts launch from Earth to the International Space Station, and when they actually dock with the orbital lab. These are the first three members of what will be the seven-member Expedition 64 crew, which will work aboard the International Space Station until April 2021.

It was the last time NASA paid for an American astronaut to fly with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on such a flight.

According to Roscosmos, the fastest a spacecraft has ever reached the ISS is 3 hours 19 minutes.

Roscosmos has had the task of transporting United States astronauts to the ISS since the space shuttle retired in 2011.

One astronaut and two cosmonauts blasted off in a Soyuz rocket early Wednesday morning from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Only an unmanned Progress cargo space ship has previously used this profile which requires just two orbits before docking.

Soyuz Rocket unfolds toward the pad.

Ryzhikov, a 46-year-old former military pilot, has spent 173 days in space, compared to Rubins' 115 while Kud-Sverchkov, 37, flies for the first time. They will conduct applied research, and more than 50 experiments. However, NASA has not yet announced such a deal, so it is unclear when the next American astronauts will fly aboard the Soyuz after performing this mission.

NASA's release coverage begins at 12:45 AM EST, so if you wake up late (or early), watch the Soyuz launch live.

In the future, NASA hopes that Russian astronauts will be able to trade seats with NASA astronauts flying in Soyuz and with Roscosmos, which can ride SpaceX and Boeing vehicles in return.

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