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Soyuz rocket departs for the international space station in historic final U.S.-Russian flight

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — Since the launch of Sputnik and Yury Gagarin from the desert steppe of Kazakhstan over 60 years ago, the history of spaceflight has been measured in milestones.

The first satellite, the first human in space, the first to the Moon. But the launch of Soyuz MS-17 on Wednesday was a different kind of milestone: the end of an era.

At 8.45 a.m. local time, a Soyuz rocket blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia’s sprawling and remote space launch facility in Kazakhstan, to the International Space Station.

It was the last time NASA paid for an American astronaut to fly with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on such a flight. Next year, for the first time since the start of the ISS program 20 years ago, Russia will fly all-Russian crews on Soyuz.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov board the
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One American, Two Russians Blast off to International Space Station | Top News

By Joey Roulette and Olzhas Auyezov

WASHINGTON/ALMATY (Reuters) – A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday and successfully reached orbit, live footage broadcast by Russia’s space agency Roscosmos showed.

The crew members travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) are Kate Rubins, a NASA microbiologist who in 2016 became the first person to sequence DNA in space, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

The mission is the last scheduled Russian flight carrying a U.S. crew member.

Since the space shuttle program ended in 2011, NASA has relied on Russia to ferry its astronauts to the space station, an orbiting laboratory 250 miles above Earth that has housed international crews of astronauts continuously for nearly 20 years.

The U.S. space agency in 2014 contracted Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing Co

to build competing space

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Russian-US crew launches on fast track to the space station

MOSCOW (AP) — A trio of space travelers launched successfully to the International Space Station, for the first time using a fast-track maneuver to reach the orbiting outpost in just three hours.

NASA’s Kate Rubins along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the station.

For the first time, they tried a two-orbit approach and docked with the space station in just a little over three hours after lift-off. Previously it took twice as long for crews to reach the station.


They will join the station’s NASA commander, Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April and are scheduled to return to Earth in a week.

Speaking during Tuesday’s pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, Rubins

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NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonauts launch to the space station

The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan occurred at 1:45 am ET on Wednesday.

The trio’s Soyuz capsule is expected to dock with the space station at 4:52 a.m. ET, and the hatch between the space station and the capsule will open at 6:45 a.m. ET, allowing them to enter the station.

This is the second spaceflight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov, and they will spend six months on the space station.

Along for the ride is Yuri, a little cosmonaut knitted by Kud-Sverchkov’s wife Olga. He serves as the crew’s zero gravity indicator. Essentially, once he begins to float, the crew will know they’ve reached space. Each crew gets to pick their own indicator, according to NASA.

Although NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken successfully launched to the station in May from the United States aboard the SpaceX Endeavour, launches to the
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NASA advances plan to commercialize International Space Station

Oct. 12 (UPI) — The planned launch of a private commercial airlock to the International Space Station in November will accelerate NASA’s plan to turn the International Space Station into a hub of private industry, space agency officials said.

The commercialization plan also includes the launch of a private habitat and laboratory by 2024 and a project NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Twitter in May in which actor Tom Cruise will film a movie in space.

The 20-year-old space station may even have a private citizen on board again for the first time in years in late 2021, according to Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight. It’s part of a plan to wean the space station off of NASA’s public funding, which has been $3 billion to $4 billion per year.

“We expanded the scope and range of activities that can be done on ISS,” McAlister said in

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NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — A trio of space travelers is poised to launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Oct. 14. NASA Television will provide comprehensive coverage of launch and docking.

NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)
NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)

Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:45 a.m. EDT (10:45 a.m. Kazakhstan time) on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module for the start of a six-month mission on the orbital outpost.

Launch coverage on NASA Television will begin at 12:45 a.m. It will be the second flight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov.

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Camera that will film a spacewalk in VR delivered to the International Space Station

One of the payloads aboard the International Space Station resupply mission that launched last Friday will provide a new perspective on one of the most enervating human experiences — the spacewalk. It’s a custom-made, 3D camera designed to capture content in 360-degrees while in space, and it will be used to film a spacewalk in immersive, cinematic VR for the first time ever on an upcoming ISS astronaut mission.

The camera is the result of a collaboration between Felix & Paul Studios, Time Studios and in-space technology expert Nanoracks. It will ultimately be used to capture the footage that will then be used to produce a culminating episode of a series called “Space Explorers: The ISS Series.” To do that, it’ll be mounted on Nanoracks’ Kaber MicroSatellite deployer device, which will provide it with power, and allow it to be controlled via the Canadarm2 robotic arm that the ISS uses

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