Saturday, July 29, 2017

ISS Crew Size Increases to Six with Soyuz MS-05 Docking

The full Expedition 52 meets in the Zvezda service module after Soyuz MS-05 docked with the Rassvet module. Top row, from left to right: Peggy Whitson, Fyodor Yurchikhin, and Jack Fischer. Bottom row, from left to right: Paolo Nespoli, Sergey Ryazansky, and Randy Bresnik. Photo Credit: NASA TV

After a six-hour, four-orbit trek to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station (ISS), the three-man crew of the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft joined Expedition 52, increasing the outpost’s population to six people.

Docking took place at 5:54 p.m. EDT (21:54 GMT) July 28, 2017, while the spacecraft and station were flying over Germany. Two hours later, at 7:57 p.m. EDT (23:57 GMT), Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky, European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli, and NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik entered through the hatch of the Rassvet module where their spacecraft was docked.

All three of the newly-arrived crew members have been aboard the ISS before. This is Razansky’s second mission to space, Nespoli’s third, and Bresnik’s second. They joined Expedition 52 Commander and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, and NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson.

The two groups greeted each other with smiles and hugs before moving to the Zvezda service module for a post-docking conference with friends and family members on the ground in Baikonur Cosmodrome.

“That was the most amazing, smooth rocket ride I’ve ever had,” Bresnik said during the conference. “I would really like to say thanks, on behalf of [the Soyuz MS-05 crew], to our Russian colleagues and Russian partners who made such a beautiful vehicle.”

Some six hours before, the Soyuz MS-05 crew launched from Baikonur atop a Soyuz-FG rocket. Liftoff took place at 11:41 a.m. EDT (9:41 p.m. local time / 15:41 GMT) July 28, 2017.

Ryazansky, Nespoli, and Bresnik will remain aboard the ISS for about 4.5 months. They will leave the outpost on Dec. 14, 2017, while Yurchikhin, Fischer, and Whitson will leave aboard their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft Sept. 3, 2017.

While Yurchikhin and Fischer have been in space since April 20, 2017, Whitson has been in orbit since mid-November 2016. Her mission was extended when a seat became open on Soyuz MS-04 as Russia has reduced its crew size to two people temporarily.

SpaceX will send its CRS-12 Dragon capsule to the ISS next. It is currently looking to launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A no earlier than Aug. 14, 2017.

Written by: Derek Richardson
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