A three-person crew reached the International Space Station on Wednesday, the Russian space agency said, after a journey of just over three hours that was the fastest ever for a manned craft to the orbital lab.
NASA's Kate Rubins along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the station.
- An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts have launched to the International Space Station just ahead of and to extend 20 years of a continuous human presence in Earth orbit. Previously it took twice as long for crews to reach the station.
About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and they will join Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April. Talking at a pre-launch public interview on Tuesday, Rubins didn't legitimately reference the SpaceX flight when asked how she felt to be ready during another period in space investigation.
Soyuz MS-17 launching from Baikonur.
As per reports, this is also being reported as the last Russian flight to carry a United States crew member. The trip was an ultrafast, two-orbit one, thus the trip to the ISS took only three hours.
This is the second space expedition for Rubins and Ryzhikov and first for Kud-Sverchkov.
Ryzhikov, who will be the station's skipper, said the crew will try to pinpoint the exact location of a leak at a station's Russian section that has slowly leaked oxygen. "We will also take with us additional improved hermetic material which will allow to fix the leak".
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.