Soyuz MS-17 Launches Three Astronauts From Baikonur

The American segment of the space station has its own oxygen generation system.

The mission of the Soyuz space craft carrying two Russian cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut was of huge importance to Russia's space agency Roscosmos, coming as the SpaceX programme relaunches manned spaceflight from the United States and ignites fresh talk of a space race between the two countries.

The space capsule docked at the International Space Station at 2.48 p.m. Nur-Sultan time, in three hours and three minutes for the first time in history, according to Roscosmos, after completing just two orbits around the Earth.

Roscosmos said "another record for trips to the International Space Station was set - the all out time from launch to docking of the Soyuz MS-17 was three hours and three minutes".

Aboard the station, they were welcomed by the station's NASA commander, Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April and are scheduled to return to Earth in a week.

Speaking at a pre-launch press conference on Tuesday, Rubins did not directly reference the SpaceX flight when asked how she felt to be on board during a new era in spaceflight.

"Today's launch is very important for us, because crew member Sergey Vladimirovich (Kud-Sverchkov) was born in the town of Baikonur".

Before joining the USA space agency, NASA, Rubins worked as a microbiologist and was involved in research on viruses.

"We will take with us additional equipment which will allow us to detect the place of this leak more precisely", he told reporters. The new astronaut team will stay 177 days on the ISS, during which the Russian side will carry out 55 experiments, four of them completely new, and three will go out twice into open space, in November and next February.

A NASA TV commentator said everything was normal, citing communications between Russian mission control and the crew, while Roscosmos said the capsule had successfully gone into orbit.

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