Russia’s repaired Soyuz spacecraft ready to carry three to ISS

Russia’s repaired Soyuz spacecraft ready to carry three to ISS

A repaired Russian Soyuz spacecraft is all set be launched to ferry three astronauts, including a NASA astronaut, to the International Space Station (ISS), increasing the total number of the orbiting lab’s crew to six.

The eagerly-awaited launch of the Soyuz MS-02/48S spacecraft is slated to take place from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome at 4:05:14 a.m. EDT or 2:05 p.m. local time today.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov will be in the command module’s center seat, while flight engineer Andrey Borisenko and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough will be on the left and right seats, respectively.

The MS-02 spacecraft is the second in a new series of Russia’s improved crew transport ships that feature better avionics, propulsion systems and navigation.

Kimbrough, a former Army helicopter pilot, downplayed the risks of riding on a rocket, calling the Soyuz one of the “most reliable spacecrafts” ever built.

When asked for a comment, he said, “It’s going to be an interesting experience, very different from the shuttle, a little more cramped of course, the vehicle’s much smaller, the places where we sit are very tight and we’ll kind of have our knees up in our chests for four or five hours. So that’ll be interesting.”

The first vehicle in the MS-02 series was launched in July this year, carrying the orbiting lab’s current three crew members, viz. Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi.