A Russian commander, his NASA co-pilot and the first Emirati to fly in space returned to Earth Thursday with a fiery re-entry inside the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft on the way to an on-target parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan at 6:59 a.m. EDT (1059 GMT), a few hours after undocking from the International Space Station.
A Soyuz rocket carrying a Russian commander, a NASA co-pilot and a United Arab Emirates guest cosmonaut blasted off from Kazakhstan Wednesday, chased down the International Space Station and glided in for a picture-perfect docking, kicking off an unprecedented end-of-year schedule that includes up to a dozen spacewalks.
A Soyuz rocket with a three-person crew heading for the International Space Station lifted off at 1357 GMT (9:57 a.m. EDT) Wednesday in the final launch currently scheduled from Gagarin’s Start, a historic site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan from where Yuri Gagarin departed on the first human spaceflight in 1961. Beginning next year, Soyuz crews will blast off from a different pad at Baikonur.
Engineers believe super-hot gas from burning solid propellant impinged on the structure of the second stage on a European Vega launcher during a failed flight in July, causing the vehicle to break apart minutes after liftoff from French Guiana with a reconnaissance satellite for the United Arab Emirates, the CEO of Italian rocket-maker Avio said Monday.
A Vega rocket faltered minutes after liftoff from French Guiana at 9:53 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0153 GMT) and failed to reach orbit with a European-built reconnaissance satellite for the United Arab Emirates. The payload and launcher fell into the Atlantic Ocean, marking the first failure for the solid-fueled Vega launch vehicle.