Monday, November 24, 2014

Russian Soyuz Delivers Crew of 3 to International Space Station

A Russian Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft carrying three new members of the Expedition 42 crew approaches the International Space Station ahead of docking on Nov. 23, 2014.

Credit: NASA

Three new crewmembers arrived at the International Space Station late Sunday (Nov. 23), doubling the orbiting lab's population back up to its full six-person strength.

NASA astronaut Terry Virts, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov blasted off atop a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:01 p.m. EST (2101 GMT, 3:01 a.m. local time in Baikonur).

The trio reached the space station about six hours later after a quick trip through space.

Virts, Cristoforetti and Shkaplerov's Soyuz spacecraft linked up with the space station at 9:48 p.m. EST (0248 GMT).

Virts is planning on sharing his experiences in space via social media websites like Twitter. The NASA astronaut is planning to take photos of his views of the planet to help people experience a little bit of what spaceflight is like.

"It's such a unique experience and such a small number of people ever get to leave Earth, so I'm going to be using Twitter and Instagram to share pictures," Virts told reporters before launch.

"@AstroTerry is the call-sign [Twitter handle]. And hopefully I can just share the adventure that I'm going on with as many people as possible around the world."

Russia's Soyuz spacecraft are currently the only spaceflight vehicle that can transport NASA astronauts to the space station.

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