Inside the Soyuz: Astronauts in cramped capsule.
Reinforcements have arrived for Expedition 37. Blasting off from Baikonur on Wednesday, the Soyuz rocket needed only four orbits to catch up to the International Space Station and dock at 8:45 p.m. MDT. Two hours later, after systems check and air pressure equalization, the hatches were opened and the crew released from their tiny Soyuz capsule.
Soyuz spacecraft TMA-10M on approach to the docking port of ISS.
On board the Soyuz spaceship was Soyuz commander Oleg Kotov, astronaut Michael Hopkins and cosmonaut Sergei Ryazanskiy. Together they make up the second half of the Expedition 37 team. The spacecraft has been docked at the Poisk mini-module of the ISS. This part of the crew is scheduled for a five and a half month stay on the ISS.
Meanwhile, earlier software problems with the Cygnus robotic cargo spacecraft had originally caused a delay in the docking. With the imminent arrival of the Soyuz crewed vehicle, engineers decided to postpone the procedure after the fix, until this coming Sunday. We wish the best of luck to the Orbital Sciences team and hope for the best on the docking attempt.
Illustration of Cygnus near the station (Orbital Sciences).