- The Soyuz spacecraft launched earlier today at 1:45 a.m. EDT
- The ISS welcomed astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov
- The three new crew members are set to stay in the space station for the next six months
The International Space Station has welcomed three new crew members aboard today. The live broadcast shared by NASA showed the complicated process of docking and entering the ISS from the Soyuz capsule.
The Soyuz hatch carrying astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov opened at 7:07 a.m. EDT, signaling the safe arrival of the three new members to stay at the space station for the next six months. Considered one of the most reliable Russian spacecrafts, the Soyuz launched early at 1:45 a.m. EDT, Oct. 15, and arrived at the ISS just three hours later at 4:48 a.m. EDT.
In a video posted by NASA’s official twitter account (@NASA) earlier (Oct. 15, 7:15 a.m. EDT), the old and the new crew members exchanged handshakes and friendly hugs after successfully docking the Soyuz capsule on the space station. Waiting for the newcomers outside the hatch were cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and astronaut Chris Cassidy.
The crucial work of docking the Soyuz capsule to the ISS rests more on the hands of the new crew members. The crew members already aboard the ISS need only to stand by and monitor the capsule’s approach and respond when needed. Once docking is complete, the Soyuz crew will first have to equalize the air pressure of the Soyuz with the space station before opening the hatches.
The space agency’s live Twitter broadcast early today also gave viewers the opportunity to participate and learn more about the mission by hosting a Question-and-Answer bit while waiting for the Soyuz capsule to dock.
In the broadcast, NASA shared that the first thing the astronaut and cosmonauts will do upon boarding the space station is to attend a safety briefing to ensure that the whole team will be able to respond well should there be an emergency in the ISS. When asked how to acclimate a crew member’s body to space, NASA answered that the best way to get one’s body used to outer space is to live there, as it is sure to adjust on its own over time.
The Soyuz spacecraft can fit up to three crew members when going to and from Earth and is regarded as a “lifeboat” for the team during emergencies.