The Russian rocket carrying space travelers from three different countries – including the US – has successfully landed at the International Space Station.
On board is NASA astronaut Sunita Williams. Obviously, now that the organization’s shuttle program has been shut down, Williams had to go into space on a Russian craft as that nation remains the only option for government-sanctioned space travel. Another scientist, from Japan, is also on the mission.
The craft docked at the station at 12:51 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday. It was about 251 miles above Kazakhstan when the arrival occurred.
From Russia is Yuri Malenchenko and from Japan is Akihiko Hoshide. The launch a couple days ago coincided with the anniversary of the very first international space mission.
The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project began on July 15, 1975. On this 37th anniversary, it is of course very refreshing to see an astronaut and a cosmonaut on the very same spacecraft serving the same purpose.
Among the group’s tasks are performing space station maintenance and a whole bunch of science experiments that can only be achieved in space.
During a preflight briefing, Williams said, “Unfortunately our mission is only four months — I wish it would be years and years and years. I’m really lucky to be flying with Yuri and Aki. I think we’re going to have a great time.”
Of course, the environment of space travel is very interesting right now, with private companies planning significant expansion into outer space over the next several years.