Friday, April 02, 2010

Russian rocket reaches orbit

The Russian Soyuz rocket is safely in orbit on its way to the International Space Station with two Russians and one American aboard.

It launched at 12:04 a.m. from Russia's storied Baikonur Cosmodrome in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

On board are California native Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a former shuttle pilot, and Russian Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko.

The crew is expected to reach the International Space Station early Easter Sunday. They are scheduled to be there until mid-September.

The rocket launched just a few hours before the countdown clock for shuttle Discovery is expected to start at 3 a.m. Friday.

Discovery is scheduled to blastoff from Kennedy Space Center at 6:21 a.m. Monday.

When the seven-member Discovery crew arrives at the International Space Station on Wednesday there will be a total of 13 people on the ISS.


Mark Lopa said...

Welcome to the American manned space program circa 2011 and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Mark...Think you are correct. Hopefully they don't experience more ballastic entries. Could impact schedule, etc. Not sure what our options would be then. Anyone, is there a back-up plan for station manned flight support if the Russians can't deliver?

James Dean said...

So far as I'm aware, Soyuz is it until Ares I/Orion or a commercial alternative is ready. No backup after shuttle.

Stephen C. Smith said...

People, the Russians have been "delivering" on Soyuz since 1967. They fly crew from all over the world, both professionals and civilians who pay $20 million for the privilege. They've never lost a single person in 43 years of operation. That's a record that NASA isn't even close to matching.

It's a shame the American press does such a poor job of educating the public about just how successful is the Russian space program. That's one reason why President Bush decided that come 2010 American astronauts would fly on Soyuz until a replacement craft was ready. The Bush Administration signed the contract in 2007.

James Dean said...

Stephen, I don't think it's any knock on Russia or the Soyuz to note that there's no backup ride to the station, no redundancy, without the shuttle. So any serious problem, however unlikely, would impact station operations until resolved.

Mark Lopa said...

That correct, James. It's simply troubling that once the shuttle retired, we are at Russia's mercy in getting astronauts into space. What if they decide their economy warrents doubling the price they charge per seat? What if Russia attacks Georgia again, our relationship goes sour, and they tell us we can't ride on their ship anymore? Once Russia has us by the manned space program jewels, they may exploit that power. Some of those officials over there could be drooling right now. We're going to find out sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Don't think the Russian are perfect. Their space program have had issues as well. The entire crews of Soyuz-1 and Soyuz-11 all lost their lives.

Anonymous said...

Plus Stephen C. Smith the Russian have had issues with their space porgram as well. The entire crews of Soyuz-1 and Soyuz-11 all lost their lives. These are what we know about.