© Reuters. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov pose for an image throughout a information convention forward of the expedition to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan March 17, 2022. Roscosmos/Handout by way of R
By Steve Gorman
(Reuters) -Three Russian cosmonauts safely arrived on the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) on Friday, docking their Soyuz capsule with the outpost for a mission that continues a 20-year shared Russian-U.S. presence in orbit regardless of tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The rendezvous happened three hours and 10 minutes after the Soyuz spacecraft carrying the brand new cosmonaut group lifted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
“Congratulations on the profitable docking,” a voice from Russia’s mission management mentioned moments later, in accordance with an English translator talking throughout a stay NASA webcast of the occasion.
Hyperlink-up of the area automobiles, after the approaching Soyuz made two temporary fly-around passes of ISS, occurred because the Soyuz and area station flew some 250 miles (400 km) above jap Kazakhstan, a NASA commentator mentioned.
Soyuz commander Oleg Artemyev led the Soyuz group, joined by spaceflight rookies Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov on a science mission set to final 6-1/2 months.
In accordance with NASA, Friday’s Soyuz arrival marked the primary time a spacecraft has docked to the station’s newly added Prichal module, a spherical-shaped unit launched to ISS and connected to the Russian section in November 2021.
NASA mentioned it might take about two hours after docking for the crew to conduct commonplace leak checks and to pressurize the passageway to the area station earlier than the three cosmonauts can open hatches to the ISS. They are going to then be part of the station’s present seven-member crew to switch three who’re scheduled to fly again to Earth on March 30 – cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov and U.S. astronaut Mark Vande Hei.
Vande Hei could have logged a NASA record-breaking 355 days in orbit by the point he returns to Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz capsule along with his two cosmonaut colleagues.
Remaining aboard the area station with the newcomers till the following rotation a pair months later are three NASA astronauts – Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron – and German crewmate Matthias Maurer of the European Area Company.
These 4 crew members arrived collectively in November aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon craft launched from NASA’s Kennedy Area Heart in Florida to start a six-month stint in orbit.
Launched in 1998, the analysis platform has been constantly occupied since November 2000 whereas operated by a U.S.-Russian-led partnership together with Canada, Japan and 11 European nations.
The sturdiness of U.S.-Russian collaboration in area is being examined by heightened antagonism between the 2 former Chilly Warfare adversaries over Russia’s invasion final month of Ukraine.
As a part of U.S. financial sanctions in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authorities final month, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered high-tech export restrictions in opposition to Moscow that he mentioned had been designed to “degrade” Russia’s aerospace business, together with its area program.
Dmitry Rogozin, director-general of Russian area company Roscosmos, then lashed out in a collection of Twitter (NYSE:) posts suggesting the U.S. sanctions might “destroy” ISS teamwork and result in the area station falling out of orbit.
Per week later, Rogozin introduced that Russia would cease supplying or servicing Russian-made rocket engines utilized by two U.S. aerospace NASA suppliers, suggesting U.S. astronauts might use “broomsticks” to get to orbit.
At about the identical time, Russia mentioned it ceased joint ISS analysis with Germany and compelled the cancellation of a British satellite tv for pc launch from Baikonur.
The Roscosmos chief additionally mentioned final month that Russia was suspending its cooperation with European launch operations on the European Spaceport in French Guiana.
The area station was born partly from a overseas coverage initiative to enhance American-Russian relations following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Chilly Warfare hostility that spurred the unique U.S.-Soviet area race.
Rogozin’s current actions have prompted some within the U.S. area business to rethink the NASA-Roscosmos partnership.
NASA officers, for his or her half, have mentioned that U.S. and Russian ISS crew members, whereas conscious of occasions on Earth, had been nonetheless working collectively professionally and that geopolitical tensions had not contaminated the area station.
Addressing his company’s 60,000 workers in a video “city corridor” on Monday, NASA chief Invoice Nelson mentioned: “NASA continues working with all our worldwide companions, together with State Area Company Roscosmos, for the continuing secure operations” of the area station.