Sunday, September 28, 2014

Damaged Soyuz carries crew to ISS

Soyuz rocket lifts off from Baikonur.

Reinforcements for Expedition 41 left Earth for a six month stay, blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Saturday for a six-hour flight to the ISS. On board Soyuz TMA-14M were Soyuz commander Alexander Samokutyaev, cosmonaut Elena Serova, and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore.  They will join Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev (Russia), NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from Germany.

Crew of Soyuz TMA-14M. L-R: Wilson, Samokutyaev, Serova.

Wilson has flown in space before, on the space shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-129, delivering supplies to the ISS in 2009. Samokutyaev was previously a backup for Expedition 23/24, and served on the ISS on mission 27/28. Serova is the first Russian woman to crew on the ISS, and is on her first flight to the station.

One-Wing Soyuz approaching the ISS.

After achieving orbit, and making burns for rendezvous with the ISS, one of the solar panel wing arrays failed to deploy. The right side array was still able to provide enough electrical power for the craft, which docked at the Russian-made Polsk module at a little over 8 pm Mountain time. The slight jarring of the docking maneuver may have been what the jammed panel needed, since it seems it opened on its own a little after docking.  

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