Russia's Soyuz spacecraft takes quickest crew trip to International Space Station

Russian spacecraft Soyuz MS-17 took the quickest-ever crew trip on Wednesday becoming the first manned spacecraft to fly toward the International Space Station (ISS) via the ultra-fast two-orbit flight plan and reach the destination in three hours.

Let's take a look:

Blast off

The carrier rocket with the manned spacecraft blasted off from Site 31 of the Baikonur spaceport towards the International Space Station (ISS) at 08:45 a.m. Moscow time on October 14. 

It will be brought back to Earth on April 9, 2021.

(Photograph:AFP)

Two spacewalks

During the space mission, led by commander Sergei Ryzhikov, the crew is to make two spacewalks: one for systems maintenance and readying a new airlock for future spacewalks, and the other, to make preparations for docking with the multifunctional laboratory module Nauka.

(Photograph:AFP)

NASA crew

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carried Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins on board.

As per reports, this is also being reported as the last Russian flight to carry a US crew member. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Altitude lowered

Russia’s state space corporation has stated that the International Space Station will reduce its altitude by 1.3 kilometres in preparation for the arrival of the Soyuz spacecraft, the craft will also have a crew on board. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Faster than flight from Moscow to London

After separating from the launch rocket the Soyuz, with three crew on board will travel to the ISS. While the nature of the mission is routine, the trip itself stands out for its planned speed. The flight plan includes just two orbits before a rendezvous with the Space Station and will take just over three hours. That's faster than flight from Moscow to London

Manned missions to the orbiting laboratory currently require some six hours between lift off and docking. However, Progress space freighters have been making faster supply trips since 2018, when the Progress MS-09 reached its destination in about three hours and 40 minutes.

(Photograph:AFP)

Immense importance

The mission of the Soyuz space craft carrying two Russian cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut was of immense importance to Russia's space agency Roscosmos, coming as the SpaceX programme relaunches manned spaceflight from the United States and ignites fresh talk of a space race between the two countries.

(Photograph:AFP)

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