Saturday, July 9, 2016

Expedition 48 grows to 6 Crew

The entire Expedition 48 crew. Newly arrived (front, left to right): Kate Rubin (NASA), Anatoli Ivanishin (Roscosmos), and Takuya Onishi (JAXA). Already aboard (back, left to right): Oleg Skripochka (Roscosmos), Alexey Ovchinin (Roscosmos) and ISS Commander Jeff Williams (NASA). Credit: NASA TV
After a 2-day orbital journey checking out new systems on a new spacecraft, the Soyuz carrying the Expedition 48/49 crew docked to the Russian Rassvet module on the ISS. They blasted off from Baikonur on Thursday the 7th, in a beautiful daytime launch in a clear sky. The flight had been delayed from its original planned launch date of June 24th, but a software glitch kept them grounded while engineers repaired the problem.
The Soyuz lifts off in front of an army of cameras. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
We've been getting used to the quick 6-hour launch to the station, but this time the Soyuz was the first launch of the new MS series capsule and the two day orbital chase would be used to help engineers test out new features for the Russian spacecraft system.  The Progress (robotic cargo) version of the MS design had just recently been at the ISS and just last week undocked and deorbited.
Soyuz MS-01 docks at the Russian Module. (NASA TV)
With the full crew aboard, Expedition 48 begins in earnest and the three newcomers will be busy indeed. Rubins and Onishi are on their first trip to space, while Ivanishin has arrived for the second time at the station. Commander Williams and his two Russian team members are scheduled to depart in September, when Expedition 49 will start. The new crew will remain on board until late October.

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