NASA Delivers Brand New Astronaut to Orbit in Russian Soyuz Rocket

Since the Americans have given up on their main tool for taking humans into space, NASA has to rely on Russian engineering in order to sent astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and then get them back.
Soyuz rocket heading for space 1 photo
Photo: NASA
Wednesday’s launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was the latest in a long series and went without a hitch.

For the new mission, officially known as Expedition 56, the Soyuz carried off the ground Serena Auñón-Chancellor from NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev from Roscosmos.

The trio would have to spent the better part of the next two days enclosed in the capsule, as it slowly climbs while orbiting the Earth towards the ISS. Docking and reaching the station is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 8.

All three would remain onboard ISS until December. They would be joining the existing crew of three on the station. While there, they would be conducting around 250 science investigations in biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Among the most crucial experiments to be carried out will be the study of ultra-cold quantum gases, microgravity research and liquid-liquid separation.

The American that went up in this mission is at her first flight to outer space. She has been selected to enter the training program in 2009 and now has become the 61st woman to fly in space.

As for NASA, after the retiring of the Space Shuttle, it launched zero manned missions from U.S soil and using U.S. technology.

The organization has been busy preparing for a return to the Moon and setting up the Mars expedition, so the development of tool needed to carry humans safely into space was left to private contractors the likes of SpaceX or Boeing.

It not yet clear when the first manned flight would take place in the new rockets, the most optimistic estimate being 2020.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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