Image credit: NASA
The Expedition 10 crewmembers are back inside the International Space Station after taking a short ride this morning. They flew their Soyuz spacecraft from one docking port to another to clear the way for two spacewalks next year.
Having configured Station systems for autonomous operation, Expedition 10 Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Salizhan Sharipov and Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao undocked the Soyuz from the Station’s Pirs Docking Compartment at 4:32 a.m. EST, as they flew 225 miles over the southern Atlantic Ocean.
Sharipov, seated in the center seat of the Soyuz descent module compartment, and Chiao seated to his left, backed the capsule away from the Station approximately 98 feet. They flew the Soyuz laterally along the Station approximately 45 feet before rotating the craft 135 degrees to align it with the Earth-facing docking port on the adjacent Zarya module. The vehicle was held in position for eight minutes of station-keeping, ensuring correct alignment of docking mechanisms, before the crew began the final approach toward the Station.
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Docking was at 4:53 a.m. EST, as the Soyuz and the Station passed over western Asia. Within minutes, hooks and latches engaged between the Soyuz and Zarya firmly linking the return vehicle and the Station. After a series of leak checks, the crew reentered the Station at 6:54 a.m. EST, and they began reconfiguring Station systems for normal operations.
Repositioning of the Soyuz cleared Pirs, which also serves as an airlock, for a pair of spacewalks by Chiao and Sharipov planned for early next year.
Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/
Details about Station science operations are available on the Internet from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., Payload Operations Center at: http://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/
For information about NASA and other agency missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov
Original Source: NASA News Release