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.
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.
Expedition 33/34 crew members, Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy, bottom, Flight Engineer Kevin Ford of NASA, and Flight Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin of ROSCOSMOS, top, wave farewell before boarding their Soyuz rocket just a few hours before their launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Launch of a Soyuz rocket later in the afternoon will send Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin on a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Soyuz TMA-05M set for Launch
The Soyuz TMA-05M crew consisting of Sunita (Suni) Williams, Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide is set to launch at 8:40 a.m. Kazakhstan time (10:40 p.m. EDT/4:40 a.m. CEST). The launch will be covered live by NASA TV from 9:30 p.m. EDT tonight.
The launch today (or tomorrow, depending on where you are) coincides with the the launch of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project 37 years ago.
Godspeed to the crew, may they safely reach their home in the sky.
This is the first launch I won’t be able to live-blog since starting this blog, as I’m working tonight. :(
Today, June 16, The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft had a successful lift off, bringing the first Chinese female astronaut into space. Liu Yang became the 56th woman in space exactly 49 years after the first women, Valentina Tereshkova was launched in the Vostok-6.
My congratulations to China and a big Hurray for 49 years of women in space.