Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut quickly orbited the International Space Station on Friday (March 19), while moving their Soyuz spacecraft in preparation for the arrival of the next crew.
Expedition 64 director Sergey Ryzhikov and flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of Russia’s state-owned space agency Roscosmos, and NASA flight engineer Kate Rubins, the Sokol weight suit, boarded the spacecraft Their Russian Soyuz MS-17 were then extracted from the ground Port of the station’s Rassvet Mini Search Module 1 (MRM 1) at 12:38 pm EDT (1638 GMT).
“Separation!” Ryzhikov radioed into control of the Russian mission outside Moscow when the Soyuz left the space station.
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Slowly retreating from Rassvet at a rate of less than one foot per second (0.2 meters per second), the Soyuz reached a separation distance of about 130 feet (40 meters) and stopped while ground controllers and Ryzhikov making sure Soyuz systems were right. resolved.
Ryzhikov piloted the Soyuz flying around the Russian section of the orbiting laboratory, from nadir to zenith, passing the Progress MS-16 and Progress MS-14 cargo vehicles while moving to spaceflight port of the Poisk Mini -Research Module 2 (MRM 2).
After some further rest to ensure that the Soyuz was aligned with Poisk, Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov and Rubins reconnected to the space staton at 1:12 pm EDT (1712 GMT), 34 minutes after their release .
“Standing side by side for communication. A message has been confirmed!” Ryzhikov said.
“Congratulations on the successful docking,” mission control replied.
The hats between the Soyuz and the station were expected to open at around 3:30 pm EDT (1930 GMT).
The Soyuz MS-17 re-release released a Rassvet port for another Soyuz spacecraft, MS-18, which launched three crews for the station’s Expedition 65 in April. Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov, along with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, are expected to take off on April 9 from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Related: The International Space Station
The Soyuz move was made to keep Poisk open for future space travel. The model was first used as an aircraft in November 2020. With the MS-17 crew ready to leave the space station for Earth on April 17, and arrive at Soyuz MS-18 at the Rassvet, Poisk will be open to support Russia’s extravehicular activities.
Soyuz movements do not appear regularly, but they are not uncommon either. In a 20-year history of human activity on the International Space Stations, crews have now refurbished their Soyuz spacecraft at various ports 19 times. A further 29 Soyuz maneuvers were performed by cosmonauts on former Russian space stations, for a total of 48 maneuvers since 1978.
Robert Pearlman is a Space.com donation writer and editor of collectSPACE.com, a Space.com partner site and major space history news publisher. Follow collectSPACE on Facebook and Twitter at @collectSPACE. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook.