NASA officials gave the green light Friday for the first all-commercial astronaut launch to the International Space Station on a SpaceX rocket as soon as April 3. But the astronaut launch could be delayed a day, or longer, to give priority to a countdown test for NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket on a neighboring launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.
Three cosmonauts blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Friday, caught up with the International Space Station after a two-orbit rendezvous and moved in for docking at a newly arrived Russian module. The cosmonauts are replacing three crew members — two Russians and an American — who are heading home at the end of the month to close out a record-setting flight.
An all-Russian crew of three cosmonauts launched Friday at 11:55 a.m. EDT (1555 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading to orbit on a Soyuz rocket to begin a six-and-a-half month expedition on the International Space Station. The trio docked with the space station at 3:12 p.m. EDT (1912 GMT).
Astronauts Kayla Barron and Raja Chari floated out of the International Space Station airlock for a spacewalk Tuesday, installing brackets and struts to support new solar arrays to upgrade the research lab’s power system on the same day that crewmate Mark Vande Hei marked his 341st day in orbit, a U.S. record for a single spaceflight.
Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a U.S.-record 340 days aboard the International Space Station, has taken to Twitter to pass along “real” news to his 5 million followers, many of them in Russia, about the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. In the process, a war of words has broken out between the astronaut and Dmitry Rogozin, director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s human spaceflight operations division, said Monday that joint activities on the International Space Station are continuing amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, including preparations for the return of NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei to Earth on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft March 30.