Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syria: Former hostages recount 10-month ordeal

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

FOCUS

'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Fascist finger-pointing

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

  • David Moyes sacked by Man United after just 10 months

    Read more

  • Hollande facing mounting pressure over Syrian refugees

    Read more

SCIENCE

Russian rocket blasts off to International Space Station

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-21

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts on board took off from Kazakhstan on Monday to join a U.S.-Russian duo who have been manning the International Space Station (ISS) since October.

REUTERS - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts on board blasted off from Kazakhstan on Monday to join a U.S.-Russian duo manning the International Space Station (ISS).

Russian Oleg Kotov, NASA’s Timothy Creamer and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as planned, at 0052 Moscow time (2152 GMT on Sunday).

"Attention, spaceship Soyuz TMA-17, successfully reached its designated orbit," said an announcer at mission control to the applause of control workers and officials from the Russian, U.S. and Japanese space agencies.

After the first nine, most critical minutes into the flight, the Soyuz reached its targeted orbit at altitudes varying between 200 km and 242 km (125-151 miles) above earth.

Toy mascot

The space trio smiled and wove hands during the lift-off. A fluffy toy mascot hanging on a string over their heads started floating around the cabin as they reached weightlessness.

"Now it’s all normal, they have started their work in orbit. At 0800 (5 a.m. GMT) we will tell them to go to bed," Vladimir Solovyov, the chief of piloted missions at the Russian segment of the ISS, told reporters after the launch.

"Their programme is quite a tense one," he said. "Space walks will start after the (New Year) holidays."

After docking with the ISS on Dec 23, the three astronauts will join American Jeff Williams and Russian Maxim Suraev who have manned the multi-billion-dollar station since October. The five men will be the station’s Expedition 22.

Williams and Suraev are due to return to earth in March. Solovyov said the three astronauts launched on Monday would spend 126 days in space and return in May.

Russia’s partners in exploiting the ISS are U.S. space agency NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japanese and Canadian space agencies. Moscow has said it wants to extend the life of the $100-billion ISS beyond 2015.


This year Russia doubled to four the number of manned flights to the ISS aboard its single-use Soyuz spacecraft.

Solovyov said the burden on Russia to support the station was only set to grow after NASA retires its ageing fleet of Space Shuttles sometime in late 2010.

"We will support the life of the station by launching our transport and cargo spacecraft," he said.

This space launch breached one of the traditions of Russia’s space industry—to abstain from launches on Mondays—established in the time of Sergei Korolyov, the famed designer of the R-7 rocket that is a prototype of the Souyz.

"Well yes, but no worries—the launch time was only 52 minutes into Monday," Solovyov admitted with a smile.
 

Date created : 2009-12-21

Comments

COMMENT(S)