An update on Soyuz TMA-09M. The crew of Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano arrived at Baikonur and have been through their first and second fit checks in the Soyuz. The press was also allowed in for a day and watched the crew exercise, relax and plant their traditional trees. They launch on May 28.
The launch of Soyuz TMA-08M. According to tradition, the crew sign their room doors and are blessed by a Russian Orthodox priest. The crew then put on their sokol suits, have them checked for leaks and head out to the launch pad. After launch, the crew made the first expedited docking after only six hours, instead of two days.
Soyuz TMA-08M launches today! The rocket is scheduled to take off at 4:43 pm ET (1:43 pm PT). This is the first manned Soyuz that will have a quick rendezvous to the International Space Station. Instead of taking two days to reach the ISS, it will only take six hours after launch. The docking is scheduled at 10:32 pm ET (7:32 pm PT) with hatch opening at 12:10 a.m. ET March 29 (9:10 pm PT March 28)
You can watch here.
The Soyuz TMA-08M crew, Pavel Vinogradov, Aleksandr Misurkin and Christopher Cassidy, flew to the Baikonur Cosmodrome for launch preparations. Yesterday they got their first view of their soyuz and had the first leak check in their sokol suits. They launch on 28 March.
Progress M-18M launched today from Baikonur. Besides taking 2.6 tons of supplies to the ISS, the spacecraft is testing a fast docking method that will eventually be implemented for the manned Soyuz. Instead of taking 2 days to reach the ISS, the craft will be able to dock to the station in six hours.