Soyuz approaches ISS with Russian, U.S.
and Japanese astronauts. Photo Credit/
Russia’s 31 mission Soyuz spacecraft docked with the International Space Station early Tuesday, delivering U.S., Japanese and Russian astronauts to restore the orbiting science laboratory to six crew operations.
Newcomers Sunita Williams, Akihiko Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko linked to the station’s Russian segment Rassvet module at 12:51 a.m., EDT, following an automated rendezvous by their Soyuz TMA-05M.
The station’s Expedition 32 commander Gennady Padalka, his fellow Russian Sergei Revin and NASA’s Joe Acaba awaited their arrival. That trio had staffed the station alone since the July 1 departure of Russian, U. S. and European crew members.
Malenchenko, Williams and Hoshide lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan late Saturday prepared for a demanding four months of research and, re-supply activities as well as a pair of August spacewalks.
The docking brought the two spacecraft together 252 miles above northeast Kazakhstan.
Japan’s third HTV automated supply craft is scheduled for launching late Friday on a seven-day transit to the station. Acaba and Hoshide, poised at the controls of the station's Canadarm2, will use the robot arm to track and capture the supply ship with its 4.6 tons of cargo.
On July 22, Russia’s 47 Progress re-supply craft will depart the station’s Russian segment for a little over a day to evaluate upgrades to the freighter’s KURS automated docking system as it re-docks.
Three days after the July 27 arrival of the HTV, the 47 Progress will depart the station for the final time. On Aug. 1, Russia plans to launch the replacement 48 Progress re-supply craft from Baikonur on an accelerated four orbit rendezvous and docking trajectory with the station.