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

Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo' Full Of Loneliness And Longing

In the new comedy Fading Gigolo, John Turturro plays the title character, and Woody Allen plays his pimp. This story originally broadcast on All Things Considered on April 18, 2014.
NPR

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

While you won't find cigarettes in restaurants anymore, some smoking isn't banned. It's not just meat, either; it's hot to smoke just about anything edible.
WAMU 88.5

Virginia Remains At Odds With Feds On Medicaid Expansion

Lawmakers in Virginia continue to resist the $9.6 billion Medicaid expansion on offer from the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.

NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

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