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Soyuz MS-22 Arrives at House Station, as Crew-5 Enters Quarantine


Soyuz MS-22 launches right into a darkened Baikonur sky at 6:54:49 p.m. native time (9:54:49 p.m. EDT) on Wednesday, 21 September. Picture Credit score: NASA

Ten souls will sleep aboard the Worldwide House Station (ISS) tonight, following Wednesday’s profitable twilight launch and docking of Soyuz MS-22 and its crew of two Russian cosmonauts and one U.S. astronaut. Veteran spacefarer Sergei Prokopyev and first-time flyers Dmitri Petelin and Frank Rubio launched from Website 31/6 on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:54:49 p.m. native time (9:54:49 a.m. EDT), the flaring core stage engine and 4 tapering side-boosters of their Soyuz-2.1a rocket turning again the encroaching night. Three hours later, the trio docked safely on the station’s Earth-facing (or “nadir”) Rassvet module to kick off a six-month science mission.

Video Credit score: NASA

Aboard the ISS to welcome the brand new arrivals are Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev and fellow Russian cosmonauts Sergei Korsakov and Denis Matveev, who launched on Soyuz MS-21 in March, along with U.S. astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob “Farmer” Hines and Jessica Watkins and Italy’s Samantha Cristoforetti, who reached the station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon Freedom in late April.

As detailed in yesterday’s AmericaSpace story, the flight of Rubio, an Military doctor and helicopter pilot of Salvadoran heritage, marks the primary time {that a} U.S. astronaut has ridden a Russian Soyuz since record-setting Mark Vande Hei launched aboard Soyuz MS-18 in April of 2021. Three subsequent Soyuz crews—final October and December and most not too long ago the uphill trek of Artemyev, Korsakov and Matveev in March—have been both composed solely {of professional} Russian cosmonauts or short-duration guests.

Frank Rubio participates in Extravehicular Exercise (EVA) coaching. Picture Credit score: NASA

Rubio turns into the primary spacefarer to launch underneath the banner of the built-in crew settlement, inked between NASA and Roscosmos in mid-July. This can see not less than one U.S. crew member aboard every Soyuz and not less than one Russian crew member aboard every Crew Dragon, to make sure the unbroken presence of not less than one U.S. Operational Phase (USOS) and not less than one Russian Operational Phase (ROS) specialist on the house station. No prior to 3 October, Crew-5—which incorporates U.S. astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan’s Koichi Wakata and Russia’s Anna Kikina—will launch from historic Pad 39A on the Kennedy House Middle (KSC) in Florida.

Soyuz MS-22, atop its large booster, was rolled out to the pad earlier this week, carefully watched by the backup crew, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub and NASA’s Loral O’Hara. Early Wednesday morning, each crews have been woke up, showered and ceremonially autographed their doorways in Baikonur’s Cosmonaut Lodge. A solemn blessing by a Russian Orthodox priest was adopted by Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio being bussed out to Website 254 to don their Sokol (“Falcon”) launch and entry fits.

Crew-5’s Anna Kikina is pictured throughout Crew Dragon coaching. Picture Credit score: SpaceX

This gave the trio an opportunity to talk (albeit from behind glass screens) with their buddies and households. Readily available within the NASA delegation have been Chief Astronaut Reid Wiseman, ISS Program Supervisor Joel Montalbano, Flight Crew Operations Director Norm Knight and Johnson House Middle (JSC) Deputy Director Stephen Koerner. After their remaining farewells, Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio have been bussed the 25-minute journey out to Website 31/6.

On the pad, they have been inserted into their couches in Soyuz MS-22’s tiny descent module. Prokopyev assumed the middle commander’s seat, with Petelin to his left facet as Flight Engineer-1 and Rubio to his proper as Flight Engineer-2. Within the remaining minutes of the countdown, Russian music was piped into the cabin for the crew’s profit. At T-5 minutes, Prokopyev’s controls have been unlocked and inside avionics aboard the spacecraft have been spooled into motion for launch.

Frank Rubio (left) flew Soyuz MS-22, shoulder to shoulder with Dmitri Petelin (middle) and Sergei Prokopyev. Picture Credit score: NASA

At T-10 seconds, the turbopumps of the RD-108A first-stage engine and the RD-107A engines of the 4 tapering, strap-on boosters attained flight velocity. 5 seconds later, the engines themselves ignited, casting an eerie glow throughout the dull-orange panorama of an early autumn Baikonur night. “A sundown begin,” exulted NASA commentator Rob Navias of the spectacular launch. Lastly, Website 31/6’s fueling tower retracted and at 6:54:49 p.m. native time (9:54:49 a.m. EDT) Soyuz MS-22 took flight, punching out a mixed 930,000 kilos (422,000 kilograms) of thrust.

Ascent proved nominal, bar a few communications dropouts throughout powered flight, and the Soyuz-2.1a delivered the spacecraft exactly into orbit. On the time of launch, the ISS itself was flying excessive above northwestern Uzbekistan.

The Expedition 68 crew poses for {a photograph} throughout coaching. From left to proper are Frank Rubio, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata, Nicole Mann, Anna Kikina, Dmitri Petelin and Commander Sergei Prokopyev. Picture Credit score: NASA

And when Soyuz MS-22 lastly separated from the rocket, a bit underneath 9 minutes after launch, a couple of thousand miles (1,600 kilometers), three hours and two full circuits of Earth lay between them and docking with the sprawling orbital outpost. Docking occurred at 1:06 p.m. EDT, some three hours and 12 minutes after leaving Baikonur, following a now-standard “ultra-fast” rendezvous profile.

Following a few hours of pressurization and leak checks, Artemyev—clad in darkish blue trousers and pink shirt—opened the hatches into the station at 3:34 p.m. EDT. On the time of hatch opening, the ISS was flying about 260 miles (420 kilometers) over the South Pacific Ocean.

Schematic of the Worldwide House Station (ISS), because it seems right now, with Crew-4’s Dragon Freedom and the Soyuz MS-21 and MS-22 crew autos docked. Picture Credit score: NASA

Expedition 67 will operate as a crew of ten for the approaching week, earlier than Artemyev, Korsakov and Matveev board Soyuz MS-21 and return to Earth on 29 September. On the instantaneous of their departure, Expedition 68 will formally start, initially underneath the command of Italy’s Cristoforetti, who turns into the primary European lady to helm the station. Her interval in command is predicted to conclude in mid-October, when she, Lindgren, Hines and Watkins return to Earth aboard Dragon Freedom.

Within the meantime, Crew-5’s Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina yesterday entered a proper interval of quarantine at JSC in Houston, Texas, forward of launch. The quartet will journey the once-flown Dragon Endurance—which beforehand supported Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Matthias Maurer and Kayla Barron—to the station, no sooner than 12:45 p.m. EDT on 3 October.

Dragon Endurance, pictured right here in the course of the Crew-3 mission, will make her second trek to orbit on 3 October. Picture Credit score: NASA

Dragon Endurance logged over 177 days in house on her first voyage, which ended final Might. Since then, she has been closely refurbished with a brand new warmth defend, parachutes and pod panels. Her 4 forward-bulkhead Draco engines have all flown earlier than. The “inter-stage” of her Falcon 9 booster was additionally changed after sustaining harm on a highway bridge throughout transit earlier this summer time.

With Crew-5 aiming for six months on the ISS, this mission will push Dragon Endurance’s time on-orbit to a cumulative yr in complete, changing into the primary Crew Dragon car to strategy this milestone. Her three spacefaring sisters—Endeavour, Resilience and the currently-in-orbit Freedom—have chalked up their very own days in house, with Endeavour presently main the pack on 280 days throughout three missions.

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