Thursday, January 21, 2010

Astronaut, cosmonaut undock from station

Russian cosmonaut Max Suraev and American astronaut Jeff Williams are backing away from the International Space Station inside their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.

The pair undocked at 5:03 a.m. EST from the aft end of the Zvezda Service Module, as the outpost flew southwest of Africa.

They plan to take a short, 25-minute spin to the module's space-facing port, where they'll park at the new Poisk docking port (shown at the bottom-center of the Russian segment in the image above).

Computer commands opened hooks and latches that shoved the Soyuz away. Suraev will pilot it to a distance of about 30 meters, rotate it and then swing around about 90 degrees to the new port.

The Soyuz should be positioned in front of Poisk at 5:13 a.m. and begin its final approach at 5:20 a.m. Docking is targeted for 5:25 a.m.

Williams is seated to the left of Suraev, serving as the flight enginner for the manuever.

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