New crew reaches space station in record time


The Soyuz rocket that will launch three Expedition 64 crewmates to the station on Wednesday stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The oxygen generation system (OGS) has failed in the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), according to the crew's talks with the Earth, broadcast by NASA.

Since ending the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA has depended on Russian Federation to transport astronauts to the ISS.

Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, left, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, center, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, right, of Roscosmos are seen as they depart Building 254 to head to their launch onboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. The journey "took a record short three hours and three minutes", Russian news wire RIA Novosti added.

Only an unmanned Progress cargo space ship has previously used this profile, which requires just two orbits before docking. The new astronaut team will stay 177 days on the ISS, during which the Russian side will carry out 55 experiments, four of them completely new, and three will go out twice into open space, in November and next February.

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Kate also said how she was looking forward to going back to space and welcoming the "first operational commercial crew vehicle to (the) station".

Speaking during Tuesday's pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, Rubins emphasized that the crew spent weeks in quarantine at the Star City training facility outside Moscow and then on Baikonur to avoid any threat from the coronavirus.

"We have a very strict quarantine, nearly from March by my perception", said Rubins, a microbiologist who researched the deadly Ebola virus before she began training as an astronaut.

This is cosmonaut Kud-Sverchkov's first flight into space and he is Flight Engineer 1.

The NASA duo returned safely on August 2 and a fresh SpaceX launch, this time anticipating a full-length half-year mission to the space station, is expected next month.