Soyuz MS-11 spaceship with three crewmembers docks to ISS

Mon 03 Dec 2018 19:31 GMT | 23:31 Local Time

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The manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft with three crewmembers of the new expedition to the ISS has docked to the station’s Russian module Poisk.

The manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft with three crewmembers of the new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) has docked to the station’s Russian module Poisk (MIM-2), a spokesman for Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos said on Monday, according to TASS.

"The Soyuz MS-11 manned spacecraft docked to the Russian Poisk module at 20:33 Moscow time," the spokesman said, adding that the crew will enter the ISS in a time span from 22:35 to 23:05 Moscow time when the pressure in the spaceship and the station is equalized.

The new expedition comprises Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency David Saint-Jacques. They were welcomed by Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and astronaut of the European Space Agency Alexander Gerst.

During its stay on the orbital outpost, the new crew will carry out a lot of operations and 48 scientific experiments. In particular, the crew will work with the Russian Progress MS resupply ships, load and undock the commercial SpaceX DM1 cargo spaceship, work with the Boe-OFT resupply ship, load and undock the Russian manned Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft for the return of the ISS-56/57 crew to Earth, as well as to conduct onboard photo and video surveys of the flight.

The new crew’s research experiments will be devoted to physical and chemical processes and materials in outer space, the exploration of Earth and outer space, the study of the human organism in the conditions of an orbital flight, biology, and biotechnology.

Also, Kononenko and Prokopyev are expected to make a spacewalk in the second ten-day period of December to inspect a hole in the manned Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft’s hull.

On August 30 a drop in air pressure was registered on the ISS. The crew examined the compartments and add-on modules one by one to identify a two-millimeter hole in the hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft attached to the orbital outpost. In the evening of the same day it was patched up with several layers of epoxy resin. Pressure returned to normal. On August 31 the crew reinforced the patch with another layer of sealant.

Earlier, the spacewalk to inspect the Soyuz spacecraft’s hole was planned for November 15 and Russian cosmonauts Prokopyev and Ovchinin were expected to have carried it out but Ovchinin did not travel to the ISS due to the Soyuz abortive launch on October 11.

The Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft blasted off from the first launch site of the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 14:31 Moscow time on Monday.

This is the first launch of a manned spacecraft after the abortive blastoff of the Soyuz carrier rocket on October 11.

Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 11. On board of the spacecraft were Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin (the commander of the Soyuz MS-10) and NASA astronaut Nick Hague.

Following a smooth liftoff, the Soyuz’s booster malfunctioned between the first and second stages of separating, whereupon the crew was forced to abort the flight and switch to ballistic descent. The manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft ended up landing safely in the Kazakh steppe. The crew was not hurt. This was the first emergency situation with the launch of a manned spacecraft over the past 35 years.

The incident-probing commission announced on November 1 that the emergency situation occurred after "a nozzle cover on the oxidizer tank failed to open due to the deformation of the separation contact sensor."

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