Rare two-man crew headed for International Space Station
Rare two-man crew headed for International Space Station
Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer give a “thumbs up” in front of the Soyuz rocket. Source NASA Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Andrey Shelepin
21 Abril, 2017, 00:37
In the wee hours of Thursday morning, a pair of astronauts are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
But Russian space agency Roscosmos announced previous year that only two cosmonauts would travel to the ISS this time as it cuts costs before the installation of a new module to expand the Russian section of the orbital lab at the end of 2017 or in early 2018.
The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying veteran Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA rookie Jack Fischer shot into the sky in bright conditions at 0713 GMT. Meanwhile, new science gear and crew supplies are on orbit right now and headed for the International Space Station this weekend. The duo will launch at 3:13 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and take a six-hour, ten-minute ride to the Poisk module's docking port.
They were welcomed by Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Russian Federation and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, as well as Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA, who on Monday will break the record for longest time spent in space by a USA astronaut.
"Mom, it's like me being in Texas, depending on where we are going around the Earth, I'll be just as close", he said.
The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday. Jeffrey Williams now holds the 534-day record.
Fischer, on his first space voyage, and Yurchikhin floated into the waiting arms of station commander Peggy Whitson and her crew.
It's the fifth mission to the space station for Yurchikhin, but the first for Fischer, who he says there is one aspect of space station life that you can't train for on Earth: using a zero-gravity toilet.
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