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Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Soyuz MS-18 arrives at the International Space Station

After an on-time launch this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft and its crew of two cosmonauts and one astronaut successfully docked to the Earth-facing docking port of the Rassvet module at the International Space Station earlier today.

The launch and docking

The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft blasted off this morning, April 09, 2021 at 07:42 UTC / 12:42 QYZT (local time) atop a Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket from Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About nine minutes after the launch from the Russian spaceport, the vehicle separated from the rocket’s third stage, deployed its solar panels and antennas and began its two-orbit long journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

Launch of Soyuz MS-18. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.
Launch of Soyuz MS-18. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

About 3 1/2 hours later, the Soyuz capsule rendezvoused with the space station and then docked with the Earth-facing docking port of the Rassvet module at the Russian segment of the ISS at 11:05 UTC, while flying over northern China. Ahead of the arrival of Soyuz MS-18, the Soyuz MS-17 vehicle was relocated to the space-facing docking port at the Poisk module, to open the port at Rassvet.

The ISS seen during the approach of Soyuz. Image Credit: NASA TV.
The ISS seen during the approach of Soyuz. Image Credit: NASA TV.

The crew members

Soyuz MS-18 was crewed by the two Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, as well as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. The three men will be part of the Expedition 65 crew and will stay onboard the ISS for multiple months. The current mission is the third spaceflight for Novitskiy, the second for Vande Hei and the first one for Dubrov. With the arrival of Soyuz MS-18, there are now four cosmonauts and six astronauts onboard the space station.

The crew photographed at the launch pad. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.
The crew photographed at the launch pad. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Sources

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/04/09/soyuz-crew-ship-docks-to-station-with-expedition-65-trio/

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/04/09/station-crew-blasts-off-on-short-ride-to-station/

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