Russian Soyuz brings crew of 3 to the International Space Station

Russian Soyuz brings crew of 3 to the International Space Station

Two days after launch, a Russian Soyuz crew ferry ship caught up with the International Space Station Monday and moved in for a picture-perfect docking, bringing two short-duration crew members and a NASA astronaut starting a six-month stay in orbit.

At 11:03 a.m. EDT, the spacecraft, under the watchful eye of Soyuz MS-25/71S commander Oleg Novitskiy, guest flier Marina Vasilevskaya from Belarus, and NASA veteran Tracy Dyson, smoothly docked at the Earth-facing Prichal module using automated technology.

The Soyuz MS-25/71S spacecraft flies over Croatia Monday on final approach to the International Space Station. On board: veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, Belarus guest flier Marina Vasilevskaya and NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson.


After leak checks to verify an airtight structural seal, hatches were opened and the Soyuz crew

I arrived at the station and was welcomed by ISS commander Oleg Kononenko, along with cosmonauts Nikolai Chub and Alexander Grebenkin and NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara, Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps.


Vasilevskaya, dressed in a blue flight suit on the left, can be seen waving at a camera as she enters the International Space Station. O’Hara is floating next to her in the upper left, while Jeanette Epps is situated at the lower left.


“Marina, you have been chosen to embark on a space mission that will take you to Belarus,” was the message sent from Moscow by Russian mission control. “We send our heartfelt congratulations and wishes for a successful and safe journey. Enjoy your tasks and leisure time. All of Belarus shares in our pride for you.”


The Soyuz MS-24/70S ferry ship was launched in September, while Dominick, Barratt, Epps, and Grebenkin arrived in September 2016.earlier this month

on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Dyson will take the place of O’Hara on April 6 when she, along with Novitskiy and Vasilevskaya, return to Earth on the older MS-24/70S spacecraft that brought her to orbit last year. In September, Dyson will return with Kononenko and Chub using the MS-25/71S spacecraft brought by Novitskiy.

The replacement of Soyuz was necessary due to Kononenko and Chub being halfway through their one-year mission on the station. The Russian crew ships are not authorized for flights lasting longer than six months.

Following the departure of Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya, and O’Hara, the NASA astronauts on board the station will continue their ongoing research and get ready for the upcoming arrival of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft in early May. This will be the first crewed flight of NASA’s alternative option to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

NASA and Boeing have completed two uncrewed test flights and addressed software issues and corroded propulsion system valves to ensure the spacecraft is now capable of bringing astronauts to and from the station.


A visualization of the Starliner spacecraft made by Boeing as it nears the International Space Station. The inaugural manned voyage of a Starliner is scheduled for early May.


For the upcoming “crew flight test,” astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams will be testing the ship’s automated and manual control systems during their 10-day journey to and from the station. They will also be spending this time aboard the outpost.

If the flight is successful, the Starliner will receive certification for potential use in upcoming ISS crew rotation missions. It will alternate with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, ensuring backup options for NASA’s launches and returns of astronauts to and from the space station.

Dana Weigel, the Program Manager for the space station, announced that all of our Crew Dragons will be launched using SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. In the event of any issues with the F9 rockets, having an alternative vehicle would allow us to continue our missions without interruption.

This would aid in maintaining a long-term American presence on the space station.

According to Weigel, this is why it is crucial for us to maintain the ability to have several providers when discussing the topic.