Soyuz MS-17 docks International Space Station in record time after successful launch

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Only three hours after leaving Earth from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, today, the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov docked with the International Space Station (ISS). A perfect start for ISS Expedition 64.

It took the previous crew that was launched to the ISS a full day following its liftoff from Florida, United States in May. Demo-2 required a few more orbits to match the velocity and the altitude of the ISS but today, the timing and conditions were perfect to bring the Soyuz capsule with the help of two fast orbits around the Earth to the ISS.

The crew will start a 6-month research mission in Earth orbit. There are now six crew members onboard the ISS: cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, as well as NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy, who were already on the station.

The remainder of the crew is scheduled to be delivered shortly afterwards on SpaceX Crew-1, the first operational flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). As Crew-1 consists of a crew of four instead of three like the Soyuz, Expedition 64 will mark the beginning of seven crew operations on the ISS. The mission is scheduled to end on 18 April 2021 with the departure of Soyuz MS-17.

A recap of the mission start, from launching to the station:

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