HOUSTON — Three new crew members are on an unprecedented fast track to the International Space Station, going from the launch pad to the orbiting complex in just six hours.
Chris Cassidy of NASA and Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) launched in their Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:43 p.m. CDT Thursday, March 28 (2:43 a.m. Baikonur time March 29).
Instead of taking the standard two days to rendezvous and dock with the station, Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin will become the first crew to make the trip in just six hours. They will need only four orbits of Earth to reach the orbiting laboratory. This flight will use rendezvous techniques perfected recently with three unpiloted Russian Progress resupply vehicles.
The crew will dock with the station’s Poisk module at 9:32 p.m. CDT. NASA TV coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. CDT (9:30 p.m. EDT). Hatches are scheduled to open between the Soyuz and the station at 11:10 p.m. CDT with NASA TV coverage of the activities beginning at 10:30 p.m. CDT (11:30 p.m. EDT).
Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin will join Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of Roscosmos. They have been aboard the complex since December.
Expedition 35 will continue to expand the scope of research aboard the station, seeking knowledge that strengthens our economy, improves life on Earth and advances future exploration beyond Earth orbit. During the next six months, the crew will perform more than 180 investigations covering human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development, Earth observation and education.
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