New Space Station Crew Launches in Snowy Nighttime Displayby Denise Chow, SPACE.com Staff Writer
| The Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin blasts off from the Baiknour Cosmodrome on Nov. 13, 2011. |
CREDIT: NASA TV
A Russian rocket successfully lifted off from snowy Central Asia tonight (Nov. 13), carrying a NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin blasted into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft at 11:14 p.m. EST (0414 GMT Nov. 14), amid frigid and extremely snowy conditions at the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Despite intense snowfall at the launch site, the winds remained calm, which enabled Russian controllers to proceed with the scheduled liftoff.
The Spaceflyers are expected to arrive at the space station on Wednesday (Nov. 16) at 12:33 a.m. EST (0530 GMT). The trio will dock their space capsule to the Poisk module on the Russian segment of the orbiting outpost.
Burbank previously visited the space station in 2000 and 2006, on missions aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. This will be his first long-duration stint at the massive orbiting laboratory. Shkaplerov and Ivanishin are both conducting their first spaceflight.
Upon their arrival, Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin will round out the station's Expedition 29 crew, which currently consists of commander Mike Fossum of NASA, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov.
Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov were asleep in space during preparations for tonight's Soyuz launch, but woke up specially to watch a live broadcast of the liftoff from on-board the orbiting complex, according to NASA officials.
Commander Fossum and his two crew-mates have been living and working aboard the station since June. They are scheduled to return to Earth on Nov. 21. Before his departure, Fossum will hand over command of the station to Burbank, who will lead the station's new Expedition 30 mission for the duration of his stay. [50 Great Russian Rocket Launch Photos]
Tonight's launch represented a critical milestone for the Russian Federal Space Agency and its fleet of Soyuz rockets. In August, a Soyuz booster carrying a robotic cargo ship crashed in Siberia after an issue cropped up in the rocket's third stage.
The unmanned Progress 44 cargo freighter and its 2.9 tons of supplies on-board were lost in the accident. The crash was a rare mishap for the typically dependable Soyuz brand of rockets.
The accident temporarily grounded the rocket fleet since the booster used to loft the robotic Progress ships are similar to the ones used to deliver astronauts and cosmonauts to the space station. Russia's Federal Space Agency conducted an investigation into the matter, and traced the problem to the gas generator in the rocket's third stage. This conclusion was also confirmed by an independent NASA panel.Read More...
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m 38 min - Uploaded by NASAtelevision
and prepared for liftoff on November 14, Baikonur time, in the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft.
com - 11 min - Uploaded by Ronsmytheiii
This Truly is a Historic Event! When I was growing up in the 1960's I would have never seen this day coming... Russian and American Space Programs working together. Maybe mankind will make it into Outer Space After All!!!:)
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