NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins Launches to Space Station with Russian Crewmates on Historic Soyuz Flight

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins Launches to Space Station with Russian Crewmates on Soyuz
The Soyuz MS-17 rocket is launched with Expedition 64 Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov, and Rubins launched at 1:45 a.m. EDT to begin a six-month mission onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –   NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and her two Russian cosmonaut crewmates successfully blasted off for the International Space Station early this morning aboard their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft on a milestone mission marking the historic end of an era for American astronauts aboard the Russian vessels that also counts as the 2oth anniversary of continuous, uninterrupted  human occupation of the orbiting science outpost and a presence in space approaches next month.

The history making flight counts as the final NASA contracted mission whereby the agency pays for seats carrying our astronauts to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz spaceship.

Henceforth NASA astronauts will launch about the NASA funded and contracted American built commercial crew spaceships from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida – namely the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner ferry ships.

Ever since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 NASA has had to pay the Russian space agency Roscosmos for seats to fly aboard the Soyuz – currently approximately $90 million each.

Furthermore Rubins, a PhD microbiologist and virologist, soared to space on her 42nd birthday with cosmonaut crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos – lifting off at 1:45 a.m. EDT  . (10:45 a.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

“Congratulations to Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov on a safe launch! Looking forward to seeing you on the @Space_Station!”, tweeted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

The Russian American trio launched as members of the Expedition 64 mission for a six month stay on the space station.

The Soyuz MS-17 crew ship with the Expedition 64 crew inside is pictured just a few meters away from the Rassvet module’s docking port on Oct. 14, 2020. Credit: NASA

Together the trio reached orbit nearly nine minutes later and successfully docked at the ISS after a fast track record breakingly fast and first time ever two-orbit, three-hour flight. They accomplishing rendezvous and docking of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft to the station’s Rassvet module as planned at 4:48 a.m. EDT (1:45 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

They docked while both spacecraft were flying about 261 miles above the Mediterranean Sea.

“Three hours and three minutes from liftoff to docking – an absolute record in crewed spaceflights to the @Space_Station! Congratulations to the #SoyuzMS17 on the successful docking! Waiting for the transfer hatches opening!” tweeted Russian ISS cosmonaut Ivan Vagner.

 

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov arrive at the International Space Station in the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 4:48 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, as the space station passes over the Mediterranean Sea. Credits: NASA Television

At the time of launch, the station was flying about 259 miles over northwest Uzbekistan at the border with Kazakhstan, 339 statute miles ahead the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.

They docked while both spacecraft were flying about 261 miles above the Mediterranean Sea.

Expedition 64 crew members (from left) Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in front of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin

This counts as is the second spaceflight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for rookie Kud-Sverchkov.

“The space station crew expanded to six people today when the Soyuz crew ship hatch opened at 7:07am ET just a few hours after the Exp 64 crew launched from Kazakhstan,” NASA ISS program tweeted with video.

 

After standard pressurization and leak checks and hatch opening the new space flyer trio of Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov joined and were welcomed by Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April.

The combined crews briefly expand the station crew complement to six people again.

“Welcome home! With the Soyuz hatch opened at 7:07am ET, the @Space_Station crew has doubled. Astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov are now residents of our orbiting laboratory,” NASA tweeted with the hatch opening welcome video :

After a joint stay together for 1 week, the Expedition 63 crew of Cassidy Vagner, and Ivanishin hands over the station to the new Expedition 64 crew, when the current crew resident crew depart  on  Wednesday, Oct. 21, in their Soyuz spacecraft for return to Earth after a six month stay.

“On Oct. 14, 2020, the newly expanded Expedition 63 crew was welcomed by Yuri P. Gidzenko, Soyuz commander of Expedition 1, who arrived at the space station on Nov. 2, 2000…the start of 20 years of continuous human presence,” NASA ISS program tweeted.

Ryzhikov will become the commander when Expedition 64 starts with a reduced crew of three for a few weeks.

Rubins’ made history during her first spaceflight in 2016 when she became the first person to sequence DNA in space.

The resident station crew will rise again to a  first time crew enlarged of seven sometime in November following the launch of the NASA contracted SpaceX Crew-1 Crew Dragon mission on a Falcon 9 rocket carrying an international crew of four to the ISS.

 

Watch my commentary about upcoming SpaceX Crew-1 mission in November and NASA Space Launch System updates at WESH 2 NBC News and WFTV Ch 9 ABC News Orlando on Oct 13/14:

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/sls-rocket-still-track-2021-launch-moon/IBLXVB32ZNGI3K5G2TJNC4EEX4/

https://www.wesh.com/article/delayed-astronaut-launch-means-for-space-coast/34363108

Dr. Ken Kremer of Space UpClose interviewed about human spaceflight missions by WFTV ABC 9 New Orlando on Oct 13. 2020

Watch my SpaceX Starlink prelaunch commentary at WESH 2 NBC News and WKMG CBS 6 New Orlando on Oct. 5/6  about SpaceX CEO Elon Musk visit to the Cape to determine cause of so many launch scrubshttps://www.wesh.com/article/spacex-delays-elon-musk-cape-canaveral/34271894

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2020/10/05/spacex-ceo-elon-musk-coming-to-cape-to-investigate-scrub-issues/

Watch my SpaceX GPS post scrub commentary at Fox 35 News Orlando on Oct. 3

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/elon-musk-heading-to-cape-canaveral-after-a-week-of-scrubbed-launches

https://www.fox35orlando.com/video/857194

 

Watch my live interview discussion of current space missions and launches on Sept. 18 edition of  ‘Stay Curious’ daily space show presented by the American Space Museum, Titusville, FL.

Space Journalist Dr. Ken Kremer updates "Stay Curious" on space news

Our 25th "Stay Curious" week ends with space journalist Dr. Ken Kremer joining MarQ & Marty to update you on the lastest news from the Space Coast…all to bridge the space between us.

Posted by American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame on Friday, September 18, 2020

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
………….
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

 

Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.