Two Russians and one American in record time to space station ISS

A Russian Soyuz rocket with two Russians on board and an American has arrived at the International Space Station ISS. Kathleen Rubins, Sergei Rijikov and Sergei Kued-Sverchkov left this morning from a launch base in Kazakhstan. Just after 13.00 Dutch time, the hatch opened and the trio hovered into the ISS.

It took about three hours to get to the ISS. The rocket was launched in a special way so that the journey was now about twice as fast as before. Previously, a rocket had to orbit the Earth four times. Now it was possible in two times before the station was reached. This faster method has already been used on cargo flights. It was the first time a manned flight went so fast.

Watch the livestream of NASA here:

The trio will spend half a year in the space station. They replace NASA commander of the station, Chris Cassidy, and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Russian Roscosmos, who have been aboard the complex since April. They are expected to return to Earth next week.

Quarantine

At a press conference prior to launch, Rubins said that the crew had been in quarantine for weeks just outside Moscow and in Kazakhstan to โ€œavoid any threat of the coronavirusโ€.

The Russians and Americans want to continue to work together to transport each other to the ISS. โ€œWe have a good cooperation,โ€ Rubins said. โ€œWe have American astronauts train here and continue to train Russian cosmonauts at the Johnson Space Center (in the US).โ€

Elon Musk

In 2011, the Space Shuttle program ended. As a result, American astronauts have been relying on Russian missiles to go to the ISS for ten years. In May, a commercial missile went to ISS for the first time: the Crew Dragon of Elon Musks SpaceX company. It was the first launch of American soil in ten years.

ISS rotates around the Earth at about 400 kilometers altitude. That takes the station over an hour and a half. Not only professional space travellers go to the station. There have also been a number of tourists in the space station.

The space station has been moving around the Earth for 21 years as a kind of habitable satellite. Space research is being done in the station. Since the beginning of November 2000 it has been inhabited, always in different compositions. The main participants in the Space Research Centre are the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, the American NASA, the European ESA, the Japanese JAXA and the Canadian Agency CSA.