Baikonur, Kazakhstan (AFP) Oct 8, 2010
A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts to the International Space Station blasted off Friday from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The rocket took off into the night sky on schedule at 3:11 am Moscow time (23:11 GMT Thursday), creating a spectacular yellow light. Russian space officials said the launch had gone according to plan.
Their Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft is a modernised version of the ship used by Russia to put humans into the space. It is the first such craft to be fully equipped with a digital measuring system and Friday's launch was the first time the new design has been used.
The spacecraft is due to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) at 4:02 am Moscow time (0:02 GMT) on Sunday.
The crew includes one of Russia's most experience spacemen, Alexander Kaleri, whose first mission to space was in in March 1992 just after the fall of the Soviet Union to the now defunct Russian space station Mir.
Kaleri has already made four space flights, logging up 610 days in space and almost 24 hours of spacewalks, his last trip an October 2003 mission to the International Space Station.
Joining him are American Scott Kelly, who has made two spaceflights and Oleg Skripochka, who is making his first space flight.
earlier related report
Photographs are taken of the exercise device's parts and downlinked to Earth for analysis by specialists.
Commander Doug Wheelock continues working on the Oxygen Generation System in the Destiny laboratory. Wheelock is installing a system that will combine carbon dioxide and hydrogen to create water and methane.
The water will be used in the station's Water Processing Assembly and the methane will be vented overboard.
Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin continued his work in the Russian segment of the International Space Station. Yurchkihin updated the Inventory Management System and replaced equipment in the Zarya control module. He also inspected filters and checked coolant levels.
The Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft is at the launch pad in Kazakhstan and set for a Thursday launch at 7:10 p.m. EDT to carry three new Expedition 25 crew members to the International Space Station.
Flight Engineers Scott Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka are due to arrive at the orbiting laboratory Saturday and dock to the Poisk module at 8:02 p.m.
earlier related report
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka will launch aboard the new Soyuz TMA-01M Thursday at 7:10 p.m. EDT (Friday, Kazakhstan time) and begin a five-month tour of duty aboard the station after docking to the Poisk module Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, the three Expedition 25 crew members already living and working aboard the station conducted a depressurization drill, collected data for science research and prepared for the installation of a device to produce water.
Commander Doug Wheelock began his workday early by participating in the Pro K experiment, which studies dietary countermeasures to lessen the bone loss experienced by astronauts during long-duration spaceflight.
With assistance from Flight Engineer Shannon Walker, Wheelock collected a blood sample and stored it in the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS for study later by scientists back on Earth.
Walker spent much of her morning with the Capillary Flow Experiment for an investigation of capillary flows and flows of fluids in containers with complex geometries.
Results of this study will improve current computer models used by designers of low-gravity fluid systems and may improve fluid transfer systems on future spacecraft.
Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin continued unpacking cargo from the ISS Progress 39 spacecraft that has been docked to the aft port of the Zvezda service module since September
Later Yurchikhin joined Wheelock and Walker for an emergency drill to sharpen the crew's response to a rapid, unexpected loss of cabin pressure within the station. Afterward the three tagged up with flight controllers for a debrief of the drill.
After a break for lunch, Wheelock used a ham radio to speak with students at the Institute of Research and Education in Italy and answered a variety of questions about life aboard the space station.
Wheelock then tagged up with flight controllers to discuss the upcoming installation of the Sabatier, which combines carbon dioxide from the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly and hydrogen from the Oxygen Generation System to form water and methane.
The water will be recycled by the Water Processor Assembly, and the methane vented overboard.
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ISS Crew Hard At Work As New Crew Members Prepare For Launch
Houston TX (SPX) Oct 07, 2010
The Expedition 25 crew has been working on the International Space Station's treadmill located inside the Russian segment. The treadmill is disassembled, inspected then reassembled as part of its six-month maintenance schedule. Photographs are taken of the exercise device's parts and downlinked to Earth for analysis by specialists. Commander Doug Wheelock continues working on the Oxy ... read more
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