Commute From Earth To Space Station Just Got Shorter | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Commute From Earth To Space Station Just Got Shorter

Three astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station after being the first to try out a new "express" route that slashes their launch-to-docking commute from two days to just six hours.

The crew of the Soyuz capsule, Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and American Chris Cassidy, docked with the ISS late Thursday after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. En route to the station, they made "only four orbits instead of the usual two-day launch-to-docking mission profile for a Russian spacecraft," NASA says.

Although the expedited trip has been successful twice before with unmanned cargo-carrying Soyuz capsules known as Progress, the mission that docked Thursday is the first manned crew to accomplish the feat. The BBC says the speedy launch-to-docking was accomplished by "using intricate ballistics maneuvers [that] succeeded in cutting out around 30 orbits and 45 hours from the flight time to the ISS."

According to Space.com, the procedure for the shorter flight is basically a compressed version of the longer one.

Not only does this save time for the crew, stuffed as they are in the cramped Soyuz, but since the Russian capsule can fly autonomously in orbit for only about four days, the shorter commute also means more fuel, oxygen and other supplies can be conserved for a possible emergency.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Why Are Theater Tickets Cheaper On The West End Than On Broadway?

In London, a matinee ticket for Matilda costs about $60; in New York, it's $137. What's going on? The West End has weaker unions and subsidized theater, while Broadway has amenities.
NPR

Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others

A food blogger says dozens of distilleries are buying rye whiskey from a factory in Indiana and using it in bottles labeled "artisan."
NPR

House Approves $16 Billion Plan To Improve Health Care For Vets

The Senate is expected to pass the measure this week. It would expand government programs and provide funds for vets who are unable to access VA services to see private doctors.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.