The Soyuz manned spacecraft with a Russian-American crew on board on Wednesday successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS).
“The spaceship docked to the Poisk module (MIM-2) at 09:24 MSK in an automatic mode,” the Mission Control Center (MCC) outside Moscow told Itar-Tass.
The last analog Soyuz TMA-22 ship, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on November 14, has delivered to the ISS the crew of the next long-term expedition – Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank, who will work in orbit for slightly more than four months. With the arrival of the Russian-American trio at the station, the crew of ISS Expedition 29 increased to six people, but not for long: on November 22 Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, NASA astronaut Michael Fossum and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, who have been on the ISS mission from the beginning of June, will return to Earth.
Representatives of the Russian and US space agencies, MCC specialists, journalists and guests applauded the successful docking of the spaceship.
“At about 11:55, Moscow time, the astronauts are to open the hatches and enter the ISS,” the MCC said.
The ISS Expedition 29/30 crew have many complex tasks. The expedition’s flight program includes the reception and unloading of two Russian cargo spacecraft Progress and the launch of the scientific micro-satellite Chibis with the help of the cargo spacecraft that has ended its work period. The spacecraft, developed by Russian scientists, is designed to study lightning discharges in the atmosphere.
The crew’s work plan also includes extravehicular activity in the interests of the Russian segment, during which astronauts will have to move a derrick from one module to another and set on the outer surface of the station additional meteor protecting shields. Shkaplerov and Oleg Kononenko, who will arrive at the ISS in late December, will conduct a spacewalk.