The crew of Expedition 36 aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M set a record for the fastest trip ever to the International Space Station. From launch to docking, the trip took 5 hours and 39 minutes. That's six minutes faster than the previous Soyuz that used the new "fast track" four-orbit rendezvous.
Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano docked their Soyuz to the station's Rassvet module at 02:16 UTC on May 29 (10:16 p.m. EDT on May 28).
"Thank you for the best spacecraft, finer than the best pocket watch!" Yurchikhin radioed to Mission Control in Moscow after docking.
Launch took place at 20:31 UTC (4:31 p.m. EDT) Tuesday (2:31 a.m. May 29, Baikonur time).
The new abbreviated rendezvous with the ISS uses a modified launch and docking profile for the Russian ships. It has been tried successfully with three Progress resupply vehicles, and this is the second Soyuz crew ship that has used it.
In the past, Soyuz manned capsules and Progress supply ships were launched on trajectories that required about two days, or 34 orbits, to reach the ISS. The new fast-track trajectory has the rocket launching shortly after the ISS passes overhead. Then, additional firings of the vehicle's thrusters early in its mission expedites the time required for a Russian vehicle to reach the Station.
After the hatches open at 11:55 p.m. EDT, the new trio will join Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA and Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos who have been on board since March 28. All six crew members will then participate in a welcome ceremony with family members and mission officials gathered at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev near Moscow.
This article was republished with permission from Universe Today.
Soyuz... first launched in 1967 - and this design is still in use today. It's a shame that the current leadership of this country could care less that we have the ability to return to space on our own accord.
That's okay because private industry will eventually do more efficiently and for less money than government. Just wait until the US govt is not their only customer, that's when you'll see huge things happening.
At the single moment in time when it proves to be profitable in space, humanity will move and settle in space.
We just need to make it profitable!
... "profitable private industry", Right. Got it. Yet somehow the Russians can do it.
@ Mister Thomas
The U.S. can have their own launch system without a question. What is lacking is the will to produce one.
However, because of…
1) the repeated display of lack of direction
2) the incessant arguing about the very few issues that the leadership actually recognizes as priorities.
3) the overwhelming lobbing power of special interest groups
…I expect very little genuine “Leadership” out of Washington in issues that actually advance America as a nation. Probably the best thing they can do is to stay out of the way.
Democracy…the best form of government money can buy.
"Profit" provides direction and will or desire to get the job done.