Russian, American two-man crew reaches ISS

2017-04-20 22:30
US astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet during a space walk outside the International Space Station. (NASA via AP)

US astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet during a space walk outside the International Space Station. (NASA via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baikonur - A Soyuz spacecraft carrying a Russian and an American reached the International Space Station Thursday, completing the first two-man flight to the ISS in over a decade.

The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft with veteran Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA rookie Jack Fisher on board successfully docked to the ISS at 13:19 GMT, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

Manned launches to the ISS usually involve three crew members.

But Roscosmos announced last year that in the near future only two cosmonauts would be on board the ISS rather than three as has been the case in recent times.

The agency explained it is seeking to cut costs on supply missions prior to the installation of a new module to expand the Russian section of the orbital lab at the end of 2017 or in early 2018.

Another Russian-American duo, Yuri Malenchenko and Edward Lu, undertook the last two-man mission to the ISS, in April 2003.

Yurchikhin and Fischer are beginning a five-month mission at the station where three astronauts, including NASA's Peggy Whitson, are already stationed.

Breaking records

In an emotional interview with NASA TV, Fischer, a 43-year-old former US air force pilot, said he would be "thinking about Dad" as he enters orbit.

When dying from cancer his father encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming an astronaut, Fischer said.

Yurchikhin, 58, has racked up 537 days in space over the course of four missions to the ISS, more than any US astronaut but well short of the 879 days logged by record-holding compatriot Gennady Padalka.

Fischer and Yurchikhin will be onboard the ISS to witness Whitson break the 534-day American record for cumulative days in space previously held by Jeff Williams.

US President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump are expected to congratulate Whitson on her achievement in an Earth-to space call on Monday, according to NASA.

Whitson also became the first woman to take charge of the ISS twice, having inherited command of the lab for the first time from Yurchikhin in 2007.

She will return to Earth in early September with both Fischer and Yurchikhin after NASA decided to extend her stay in space by three months.

France's Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitsky of Roscosmos will be the next members of the ISS crew to return to Earth, with a landing scheduled for early June.

Russia is currently the only country executing manned space flights to the ISS, despite its space industry having suffered a string of setbacks and launch failures in recent years.

The ISS laboratory, a rare example of American and Russian international cooperation, has been orbiting Earth at about 28 000 km/h since 1998.

Read more on:    international space station  |  roscosmos  |  us  |  russia  |  space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.