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

Bill Cunningham, Iconic 'New York Times' Photographer, Dies At 87

Cunningham worked at the Times for almost 40 years, capturing the fashion trends of the day with a timeless eye.
NPR

With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the fat in milk chocolate by running it through an electric field. The result is healthier, but is it tastier?
NPR

Tracing The 43-Year History Of The U.K. In The European Union

The U.K. joined the European Union in 1973, hoping to gain from the booming economies on the continent. Historian Timothy Garton Ash explains the reasons why, and how the relationship soured.
NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

Leave a Comment

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