On Friday, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, an experienced Russian leader, and a first-time cosmonaut co-pilot launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They arrived at the International Space Station three hours later, making it possible for three other crew members to come back to Earth after spending a full year in orbit.
O’Hara expressed her amazement at being present at this moment. She described the launch and flight as stunning and lovely. During a short welcome ceremony, she shared, “The experience of seeing the Earth and space station for the first time was unforgettable, but what truly surpassed that was entering through the hatch and seeing all these individuals here.”
The Soyuz MS-24/70S mission, led by commander Oleg Kononenko and assisted by co-pilot Nikolai Chub and O’Hara, launched from a Russian launch site at 11:44 a.m. EDT (8:44 p.m. local time). The Soyuz 2.1a rocket propelled the crew into space, lighting up the nighttime sky.
This is the longest individual flight to date for an American astronaut.
Rubio expressed excitement for the upcoming week as they plan to give a tour to their guests. They are confident that their guests will have a great experience during their mission.
Also on hand to welcome O’Hara and company: SpaceX Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov. They were launched to the station
Four other Crew Dragon astronauts who came back to Earth on September 4 have been replaced.
On her debut space mission, O’Hara plans to spend six months on the outpost. Meanwhile, Kononenko and Chub, who are replacing the Soyuz crew, are planning to stay for a year before returning to Earth in September 2024. By the time he lands, Kononenko will have spent approximately 1,100 days in space over five missions, setting a new record for the most time spent off the planet.
During a pre-flight interview in Moscow, O’Hara expressed admiration for Oleg Kononenko’s extensive experience as a commander. She also mentioned the pleasure of working alongside him and learning from him during their Soyuz training. Additionally, O’Hara praised their pilot Nikolai Chub for his technical proficiency, despite it being his first flight. Working with both of them has been enjoyable for her.
Since O’Hara’s fellow crew members will be living on the station for a year, a new Soyuz spacecraft will launch in March to provide transportation. Commander Oleg Novitskiy, NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson, and Belarus researcher Marina Vasilevskaya will deliver a new ferry ship to the station.
Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya, and O’Hara are expected to come back to Earth on the same Soyuz spacecraft that took O’Hara into orbit on Friday, approximately 10 days later. Kononenko, Chub, and Dyson will continue their stay in space until next September and will return aboard the Soyuz MS-25/71S spacecraft, which was brought to the International Space Station by Novitskiy.
In the coming weeks, Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio will spend approximately 12 days preparing and acquainting their three successors with the complexities of managing operations on the space station.
On September 27, they intend to undock and come back to Earth. They will land on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 6:14 a.m. EDT, marking the end of their lengthy mission. This mission is now the longest single flight completed by an American astronaut and the third longest in history.
Valery Polyakov, a cosmonaut who has passed away, holds the world record for the longest time spent in orbit with 438 days while staying on Russia’s retired Mir space station in the 1990s. The second spot on the list belongs to another retired cosmonaut, Sergei Avdeyev, who spent 380 days aboard Mir.
During a previous interview with ABC News, Rubio expressed that these records will be surpassed once again. This is a positive development as it shows that we are making progress.
As we gear up to travel to the moon and beyond, with the ultimate goal of reaching Mars and beyond in the solar system, it is crucial that we understand the human body’s ability to adapt and find ways to enhance this process. This will aid in maximizing our capabilities as we venture further away from Earth.
A large amount of coolant is leaking.
In December, it is likely that there was a micrometeoroid impact.
Following a thorough examination, the Russian team determined that cabin temperatures could potentially surpass safe levels during re-entry. As a precaution, the Soyuz MS-23/69S spacecraft was launched to the space station in February without any crew on board.
to offer transportation to one’s residence
Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio were required to spend an unforeseen six months in space in order to get the Russian crew rotation schedule back on schedule.
According to Rubio, the most difficult obstacle was being separated from his spouse and four children for an extended period of time.
“My family and I had a significant year,” he stated. “Our oldest child completed her first year at the Naval Academy, while our second son began his journey at West Point. It was a major transition for them as they navigated the college application process and embarked on their young adult lives.”
“Despite the challenges, we also received an overwhelming amount of love, support, and prayers from our loved ones and community. Witnessing the outpouring of support for my family made it easier for me to stay focused on our mission. It lifted a weight off my shoulders.”
Even though she will only be on the station for six months, O’Hara expressed excitement for the opportunity. It has been her dream since she was in elementary school.
She expressed her greatest enthusiasm for the launch and journey to space. The thought of gazing at the Earth from orbit is something she has seen in countless images, but the actual experience will undoubtedly be an extraordinary one.
I am excited to acquire the knowledge of flying (in zero gravity). This includes learning how to function and complete everyday tasks, such as sleeping, eating, and showering, in microgravity. Additionally, I am eager to learn how to use tools and equipment for conducting research during our mission.
Lastly, I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to spend time with my colleagues while in orbit. We will have meals together, collaborate on tasks, and share the experience of our journey.
As a child, O’Hara lived near the Johnson Space Center in Houston and later obtained a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University. Prior to her 2017 enrollment at NASA, she worked as a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, assisting with both manned and robotic underwater vehicles.
She possesses a personal pilot certification and is an accredited EMT who offers her services as a volunteer for a nearby search-and-rescue group. She includes sailing, surfing, backpacking, and skiing as her listed interests.
She expressed that one of the main difficulties she expects to face is the restriction of going outdoors. Being outside is a crucial way for her to revitalize herself, so living in an environment where she cannot easily step outside to unwind at the end of the day will be an interesting experience.
However, she has eagerly anticipated this opportunity since the second grade when she expressed her desire to become an astronaut to her parents. She even had the chance to cultivate tomato seeds that were sent into space on a shuttle as part of a school assignment.
She stated that she was uncertain about when it would be possible, as she had pursued a career in ocean science and engineering. However, she always had the idea of applying to become an astronaut in the back of her mind. She believed that not applying would result in a zero percent chance of achieving her goal. Despite being surprised, she applied multiple times and was ultimately honored to be chosen after receiving an interview.