Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Soyuz launches from Baikonaur

NASA TV covers launch of Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft.

At about 4:18 Mountain time, the second half of the Expedition 27 crew blasted off from the Russian space center in Kazakhstan. While preparing for the launch, astronaut Ron Garan used his Twitter account to describe the step by step process. His last "tweet": "LIFTOFF!" He expects to keep contact with his twitter fans throughout the stay aboard ISS.

The spacecraft is planned to dock with ISS after 5 p.m. MDT on Wednesday. Like most ISS crewmembers, the crew expects to stay on ISS for approximately six months. Each Expedition of 6 is divided into two sections, which alternate between expeditions so that one half goes home as a new half of the crew comes up to the station. It can get confusing sometimes about which expedition is currently in operation! The first half of the Expedition 27 crew arrived on ISS in December.

The current plans for flights to ISS have been altered. Due to the need to launch a Progress resupply vessel before the next shuttle visit, the flight of STS 134 has been postponed until April 29th. Currently, the ISS crew performs maintenance on station systems, microgravity and space experiments, and preparations for the arrival of the shuttle.

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