Soyuz launch marks end of an era for NASA

Soyuz launch marks end of an era for NASA

A three-man crew effectively arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday on board a Russian rocket after the quickest actually venture from Earth of a little more than three hours. Eastern, placing the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft into orbit nine minutes later. The spacecraft, making an "ultra-fast" two-orbit approach, docked with the station's Rassvet module at 4:48 a.m.

There were two Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and one NASA astronaut, Kathleen "Kate" Rubins on board, per NASA Spaceflight.

Cassidy is said to hand command of the whole International Space Station over to Ryzhikov during a small ceremony with all of the crew members that is scheduled to happen 4:15PM on Tuesday Oct 20 and is said to be aired live on the NASA Television or even through the agency's website.

NASA has purchased additional crew seats from Russian Federation as its public-private crew program faced delays, with Rubins' mission being the most recent. In an emailed statement sent to Forbes, NASA put it this way: "As the USA commercial crew capability becomes operational, astronauts and cosmonauts should resume flying together on our respective spacecraft, consistent with past practice".

But in just a few weeks' time, NASA will begin flying its astronauts to ISS aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

So does today's launch of a Soyuz rocket signify the last time that NASA pays Russian Federation for its astronaut delivery services? The result is SpaceX's Crew Dragon and another vehicle designed by Boeing that will fly later next year. As for NASA's other commercial crew partner, Boeing, it's still working to remedy a host of problems revealed during that underwhelming launch of its CST-100 Starliner late previous year. Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soishi Noguchi are scheduled to fly aboard the Dragon spacecraft by mid-November, waiting for the engine issue that led to the abort of SpaceX to be resolved.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying a USA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday and successfully reached orbit, live footage broadcast by Russia's space agency Roscosmos showed.

This was the last time NASA paid an American astronaut to fly such a flight with the Russian space agency Roscoms.

No Russian cosmonauts have been assigned to any commercial missions to date. But NASA administrator Jim Brydenstein said Monday that Roscosmos has yet to say whether she will take part.

"While bilateral relations may be strained in these times, it is critical that there be some area of endeavor that stays above geopolitics", Eisenhower said.

"The International Space Station is probably now the safest place to be, " Ryshikov said recently, referring to the pandemic on Earth.

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