Friday, September 4, 2015

And Now There Are Nine

Welcome aboard the ISS: (Front, L-R) Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Ambetov, Soyuz commander cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, and Danish astronaut (ESA) Andreas Mogensen.

Early this morning, at 3:39 a.m. Eastern time, Soyuz craft TMA-18M (Also designated Soyuz 44) docked with the International Space Station at the Russian Poisk module. After equalizing the atmospheres, the hatch was opened about three hours later and the crew entered the ISS.  Also aboard the craft are more radiation dose meters which monitor the amount of radiation astronauts are exposed to while in Earth orbit, and a special skinsuit designed to help with back pain as an atronaut's spine lengthens in the zero gravity.

Pictured from the ISS, Soyuz TMA-18M approaches docking.
Because the station has two members that are staying for an entire year, the crew of this Soyuz is not staying very long. Expedition 44 commander Padalka will leave for Earth on September 11 with Ambetov and Mogensen. They will return to Earth using Soyuz TMA-16M. Newly arrived cosmonaut Volkov will remain aboard the station for another six months, and will return with the year-long residents Kelly and Kornienko on the just-docked TMA-18M, next year in March. Expedition 44 members Lindgren, Konenenko, and Yui will stay in the station until December 2015, and they will return in TMA-17M.
The current parking situation on ISS.

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