Soyuz takes crew to space station

May 29, 2013
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Moment of launch

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Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano lift off on their six hour flight to the International Space Station

Three new crew members have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after launching from Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz rocket carrying Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano lifted away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 02:31 local time on Wednesday (20:31 GMT Tuesday).

Georgian Yurchikhin and American Nyberg have both been into space before. Italian Parmitano is a first-timer.

They arrived at the orbiting platform just under six hours later.

The Soyuz was using a new flight profile that dramatically reduces the rendezvous time from the traditional two days.

It is technically more difficult and requires some very precise orbital adjustments, but it is deemed to be easier on the crew because it means they do not have to spend so long inside their cramped capsule.

Leak and pressure checks will be conducted immediately following docking at the station, with a hatch opening expected just before 04:00 GMT.

The trio, whose designation is Expedition 36, will be greeted by three individuals already on the ISS – Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, and American Chris Cassidy.

Luca ParmitanoLuca Parmitano is scheduled to perform two spacewalks while in orbit

Luca Parmitano‘s participation is particularly notable.

At 36, he is the youngest person to get a long-duration (six months) stay on the station. He is also the first of the European Space Agency‘s (Esa) new intake of astronauts to get a flight assignment.

Selected in 2009, the former fighter pilot has a packed schedule ahead of him. He will see all of the vehicles now used to service the station come and go during his time in orbit, including possibly the new Cygnus freighter which is made in part in the Italian city of Turin.

He is also scheduled to make two spacewalks to work on the exterior of the platform.

“I’ve dreamt of doing that. Being an astronaut is about walking in space. For me, they are one and the same thing,” he told BBC News.

Born in the Sicilian town of Paterno, Parmitano expects to bring a strong Italian flavour to his stay in orbit – literally. Italian chefs have prepared a range of special astronaut foods for him, including lasagne and risotto.

These will be delivered to the ISS in the coming weeks on the European robotic freighter Albert Einstein.

Karen Nyberg (L), Fyodor Yurchikhin (C), and Luca Parmitano (R) will stay in orbit until NovemberKaren Nyberg (L), Fyodor Yurchikhin (C), and Luca Parmitano (R) will stay in orbit until November

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22689302#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa The feed :

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