NASA astronaut, alongside two Russian cosmonauts, embark on a momentous journey to the International Space Station This historic launch signifies Russia’s return to manned missions after a year-long hiatus Exciting times ahead for space exploration!
Published by hocmarketing, 20 September 2023
Editor: Diem My
Join CNNs Wonder Theory science newsletter to stay updated on the latest news about the universe, including captivating discoveries, scientific progress, and more. Witness history as a NASA astronaut embarks on her first-ever space mission, alongside two cosmonauts, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft destined for the International Space Station. This launch signifies Russia’s return to sending astronauts to the orbiting outpost after an absence of almost a year.
The Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:44 a.m. ET, initiating a rapid three-hour course to reach the space station. Aboard the spacecraft are NASA’s Loral OHara, who was chosen for the NASA astronaut corps in 2017 after serving as a research engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Joining her are two Russian crew members, Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub.
Upon arrival at the space station, the group will assume control of operations, replacing the current trio of crew members who have been on board for almost a year following their launch on the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft.
In December 2022, the said spacecraft experienced a coolant leak due to an external impact, likely caused by a fragment of space debris colliding with the vehicle while it was docked with the ISS. Both NASA and Roscosmos confirmed this assessment.
Roscosmos concluded that the MS-22 lacked adequate safety measures to transport the crew back home, prompting the launch of a substitute spacecraft in February. Consequently, the MS-22 crew found themselves stranded aboard the orbiting laboratory until Roscosmos prepared an alternative vehicle to resume regular crew rotations. Among the MS-22 crew members is NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, whose unplanned and prolonged sojourn in space recently surpassed the US record for the longest uninterrupted duration in orbit.
After the arrival and assumption of operations by OHara, Kononenko, and Chub, Rubio and his crewmates are anticipated to finally return to Earth on September 27th. This would mark Rubio’s remarkable achievement of spending a total of 371 days in space, surpassing the previous record by more than two weeks. (It is worth noting that the late Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov still holds the global record for the longest mission in space, with an extraordinary 437 continuous days spent in orbit.)
Rubio will make history as the first American astronaut to complete a full year in space. Both Rubio and OHara participated in a crew-swapping agreement between NASA and Roscosmos, traveling on Russian Soyuz vehicles. In return, SpaceX, NASA’s transportation partner for the International Space Station (ISS), has included Russian cosmonauts on its flights.
NASA has emphasized the significance of its partnership with Roscosmos in maintaining the operations of the space station and conducting valuable scientific research onboard, even amid escalating geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia due to the war in Ukraine. In August, a recent SpaceX flight successfully delivered astronauts from NASA, Roscosmos, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the European Space Agency to the space station.
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