Soyuz Crew Sets Record for Fastest Trip to Space Station

The crew of Expedition 36 aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M set a record for the fastest trip ever to the International Space Station. From launch to docking, the trip took 5 hours and 39 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than the previous Soyuz that used the new “fast track” four-orbit rendezvous.

Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano docked their Soyuz to the station’s Rassvet module at 02:16 UTC on May 29 (10:16 p.m. EDT on May 28).

“Thank you for the best spacecraft, finer than the best pocket watch!” Yurchikhin radioed to Mission Control in Moscow after docking.

Docking and hatch opening videos below:

Launch took place at 20:31 UTC (4:31 p.m. EDT) Tuesday (2:31 a.m. May 29, Baikonur time).

The new abbreviated rendezvous with the ISS uses a modified launch and docking profile for the Russian ships. It has been tried successfully with three Progress resupply vehicles, and this is the second Soyuz crew ship that has used it.

In the past, Soyuz manned capsules and Progress supply ships were launched on trajectories that required about two days, or 34 orbits, to reach the ISS. The new fast-track trajectory has the rocket launching shortly after the ISS passes overhead. Then, additional firings of the vehicle’s thrusters early in its mission expedites the time required for a Russian vehicle to reach the Station.

After the hatches open at 11:55 p.m. EDT, the new trio will join Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA and Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos who have been on board since March 28. All six crew members will then participate in a welcome ceremony with family members and mission officials gathered at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev near Moscow.

6 Replies to “Soyuz Crew Sets Record for Fastest Trip to Space Station”

  1. I just don’t understand it we seem to work well with the Russian’s when it comes to the space station.Yes I know we pay them 70 million dollars for them to take a N.A.S.A.
    Astronaut to the space station, yet why can’t we work together way better than we do on a lot of other things

  2. Five and a half hours. Good for them. The Russians are setting the pace (no pun intended) on how one should get to LEO. Good. Raising the bar.

    As for working together, they have had it breed into their culture to oppose the West-and the US in particular- to take the opposing view. Regardless of how often they are on the wrong and losing side. Which is almost always. They do it mostly just to remind the world that they can do it and don’t care what the rest of us think. Regardless of future consequences..

      1. Yes, you are not. But only in one thing. Our cultures are totally different. Our rejection of West model of things is based on the two thousands years Orthodox history. But this fact isn’t meaning that we can’t work together productively. What about “what the rest of us think” – it is funny. Take an interest in what other nations in world thinking about US and ask yourself what you are thinking about this. Rhetorical question.

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