Three members of Expedition 49 arrived at their home for the next four months. Transported via their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft, the new crew members will now get to work integrating with the crew already aboard the International Space Station and preparing to conduct some serious orbital science.
Flight engineers Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, as well as Shane Kimbrough of NASA, docked with the outpost’s Poisk module at 5:52 a.m. EDT (9:52 GMT) on Oct. 21, some 251 statute miles above southern Russia.
A few hours later at 8:20 a.m. EDT (12:20 GMT), hatches between the Soyuz and ISS were opened. The incoming crew joined Expedition 49 commander Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Takuya Onishi who have been living on board the orbiting lab since July.
As the vehicle’s designation implies, this is only the second time this version of the spacecraft has been sent aloft. The mission was launched atop a Soyuz-FG booster at 4:05 a.m. EDT (08:05 GMT) on Oct. 19 from Site 31/6.
This past week saw an uptick in launch activity toward the space station. On Oct. 17, Orbital ATK launched their S.S. Alan Poindexter Cygnus cargo ship to the ISS via the company’s newly re-engined Antares 230 rocket. That flight got under way at 7:45 p.m. EDT (23:45 GMT) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A, located near Chincoteague, Virginia.
Cygnus will arrive at the orbiting laboratory on Sunday morning, Oct. 23, giving the newly arrived crew a couple days to get accustomed to their new home.
While the space station’s crew complement is back up to six, that number won’t last long. In about 10 days, Ivanishin, Rubins, and Onishi will board the Soyuz MS-01 that they had arrived in, undock the spacecraft, and then return to Earth. This is expected to occur on Oct. 30.
Written by: Jason Rhian
Original source: spaceflightinsider.com