Soyuz Successfully Docks With Space Station

By  //  March 27, 2014

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Trio Completes Two Day Trip to Station

ABOVE LIVESTREAM: NASA astronaut Steve Swanson and Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) joined their Expedition 39 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at 10:35 p.m. EDT Thursday. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Richard Mastracchio of NASA and Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.

UPDATE: THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 12:15 a.m.

Three crew members headed to the International Space Station are safe and healthy as they continue on their journey to the orbiting outpost today.

ISS-435

Three crew members headed to the International Space Station are safe and healthy as they continue on their journey to the orbiting outpost today. (NASA image)

All systems on their Soyuz spacecraft appear to be functioning normally, and Russian flight controllers confirmed this morning that the Soyuz TMA-12M vehicle performed two rendezvous maneuvers required to put the spacecraft on a trajectory for docking at approximately 7:58 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 27, U.S. time.

UPDATE: MARCH 26, 2014

Expedition 39/40 Trio’s Arrival at Space Station Delayed

NASA.gov — The next trio of crew members destined for the International Space Station is now looking forward to a Thursday arrival at the orbiting laboratory after their Soyuz spacecraft was unable to complete its third thruster burn to fine-tune its approach.

The next trio of crew members destined for the International Space Station is now looking forward to a Thursday arrival at the orbiting laboratory after their Soyuz spacecraft was unable to complete its third thruster burn to fine-tune its approach. (NASA.gov image)

The next trio of crew members destined for the International Space Station is now looking forward to a Thursday arrival at the orbiting laboratory after their Soyuz spacecraft was unable to complete its third thruster burn to fine-tune its approach. (NASA.gov image)

Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Steve Swanson of NASA are in good spirits aboard the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft, and their colleagues already aboard the station were informed of the new plan. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos were expecting their new crewmates to dock at 11:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday night, but now will need to wait a little longer.

CREW MEMBERS LOOK FORWARD TO THURSDAY ARRIVAL

Rick Mastracchio had a great view from the space station and tweeted this image as he saw his crew mates launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (NASA.gov image)

Rick Mastracchio had a great view from the space station and tweeted this image as he saw his crew mates launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (NASA.gov image)

Flight controllers in the Mission Control Center outside Moscow are now reverting to a backup 34-orbit rendezvous, which would result in an arrival and docking at 7:58 p.m. Thursday, March 27. Rendezvous experts are reviewing the plan, and may update it later as necessary. Docking will be at the station’s Poisk docking module.

This longer rendezvous and docking pattern was the standard rendezvous profile until last year; this would have been the fifth rendezvous using the accelerated timeline. The last two-day rendezvous was Expedition 34, which launched on Dec. 19, 2012, and docked to the station on Dec. 21, 2012. That Soyuz crew included NASA’s Tom Marshburn, the Canadian Space Agency’s Chris Hadfield and Roscosmos’ Roman Romanenko.

Rick Mastracchio

Rick Mastracchio

The first same-day rendezvous and docking was Expedition 35, which launched on March 28, 2013, and docked to the station March 29. That crew included NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos’ Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin.

Flight controllers in Moscow are reviewing data to determine the reason the third thruster burn did not occur. In conversations between flight controllers in Moscow and Houston, initial information indicates the problem may have been the spacecraft was not in the proper attitude, or orientation, for the burn.

Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev are scheduled to return home in September as Expedition 40 crew members. They will officially become Expedition 40 when Expedition 39 crew members Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin end their mission and undock in their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft in May for their return to Earth.

BELOW VIDEO: Space Station Mission Operations Integration Manager Kenny Todd talks with Public Affairs Officer Brandi Dean about the postponement of the Soyuz’s docking with the International Space Station. 

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