In this two-minute exposure, the Soyuz TMA-11M rocket heads from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan towards orbit with Expedition 38 Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency onboard. The trio launched Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 (Nov. 6 in the U.S.), bound for a docking at the International Space Station about six hours later.
The Soyuz TMA-11M rocket, adorned with the logo of the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee and other related artwork, is seen in this long exposure photograph, as the service structure arms are raised into position at the launch pad on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for November 7 and will send Expedition 38 Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
The crew will deliver the Olympic torch, and spacewalkers Kotov and Ryazanskiy will carry it outside the station on Saturday. The torch, returning home with Expedition 37, will light the flame at the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
I’m going to be frank: This picture killed me inside. Underneath that pile of wreckage in a dilapidated warehouse in Kazakhstan lies the only Buran to ever be completed and fly. I’ve known about this for some time, and it’s very sad. What makes this picture in particular so heart-wrenching is that the Buran was attached to one of the only remaining Energia launch vehicles when the building collapsed. And according to this website, the same warehouse also held every single remaining piece of Energia hardware, including several nearly complete boosters. For those of you who don’t know a whole lot about Energia, just understand that the collapse of this warehouse destroyed every example of the second-most powerful rocket ever assembled by mankind.
I didn’t know that the Energias that remained after the Buran flight were saved until I saw this photo. Finding out that they met the same fate as Buran was-and is-pretty painful.
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.