News Flash: Russia’s Successful Soyuz Launch Continues ISS Operations

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A critical launch for the Russian space program, the Soyuz FG launch vehicle, successfully lifted the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft into orbit ahead of a two day trip to the International Space Station (ISS). Launch took place at 04:15am on Monday morning from the very snowy Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Expedition 30′s NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin are riding on what is the first manned mission since Atlantis’ final NASA mission as STS-135, on a flight which was delayed by one of numerous problems suffered by the Russian space program in 2011.


Atlantis’ mission was instrumental in stockpiling nearly a year’s worth of supplies for the ISS, which proved to be essential after the the failure of the Progress M-12M/44P mission on August 28, 2011.

The Soyuz rockets will resume full-time service ferrying astronauts to and from the ISS. It appears that the 50-year old Soyuz technology will be the ISS's sole life-support system for the next several years.

Since the end of the US SPace Shuttle Program, NASA now relies totally on Soyuz rockets to deliver fresh crew and supplies to the station.With the current ISS crew set to return to Earth on 21 November, there had been fears that the station would be left unmanned for the first time.

The Daily Galaxy via newscientist.com and nasaspaceflight.com

Image credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images

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