Astronauts Catch Fast-Track Trip to Space Station

Soyuz MS-17 Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov arrive at ISS three hours after liftoff.
Soyuz MS-17 crew members (from left) Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos | Image credit: NASA

Three new residents arrived safely at the International Space Station (ISS) on October 14 after launching from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just three hours earlier.

The crewed Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft was launched atop a Soyuz-2.1a from Baikonur at 05:45 UTC on October 14. Approximately nine minutes after a successful launch, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos safely reached orbit.

At the moment the Soyuz MS-17 mission was lifting off from Baikonur, the ISS was just 545 kilometers ahead of the launch site traveling at over 27,500 km/h. This allowed for a fast-track, two-orbit rendezvous with the station just three hours later.

Once rendezvoused with the station, the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft safely docked with the station’s Rassvet module. Following a series of standard pressurization and leak checks, the hatch between the spacecraft and the station was opened.

Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov join Chris Cassidy of NASA, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The six-person crew will spend the next week together working in low Earth orbit before Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Vagner return to Earth on October 21.

Although Kud-Sverchkov is on his maiden flight to microgravity, Rubins and Ryzhikov have both experienced it once before. The trio will remain onboard the station until April of next year.

Four new crew members are expected to join Rubins and Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov in November with the launch of the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon mission. The Crew-1 mission had initially been expected to be launched on Halloween (October 31) however, an engine anomaly encountered during a non-NASA Falcon 9 launch attempt delayed the flight until early to mid-November.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.