Three astronauts blast off for ISS on Russian rocket

Published: July 15, 2012
The rocket will reach the International Space Station after a two day journey. PHOTO: REUTERS

The rocket will reach the International Space Station after a two day journey. PHOTO: REUTERS

BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN: A Russian rocket carrying an international crew of three blasted off without a hitch Sunday for the International Space Station in the first manned mission in two months.

NASA’s Sunita Williams and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide and Yury Malenchenko of Russia started their journey on top of the Soyuz-FG rocket under the clear blue sky of the Kazakh steppe on schedule at 0240 GMT.

The three crew members gave big thumbs up signs as the Soviet-era rocket safely reached orbit about nine minutes later.

“Motion parameters are nominal,” Malenchenko reported to Russian ground control about two minutes after the booster rockets separated from the accelerating spacecraft.

Live footage from inside the Soyuz TMA-05M capsule that will dock to the ISS after a two-day journey showed a small red doll in a red dress hanging before the three space travellers as a good luck charm as the rocket gathered speed.

The astronauts read calmly through printouts of their crew procedures while mission commander Malenchenko picked at some of the more distant controls on the panel with a black stick in his hand.

“That is one of the more low-tech aspects of the Soyuz spacecraft,” the NASA flight commentator said in a live video feed.

“Some of those buttons are a little bit far away from the crew members so that stick makes it a little easier for him to access the controls.”

The TMA-05M capsule is scheduled to dock with the Russian-operated Rassvet module on Tuesday at 5:52 GMT.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • hamid
    Jul 15, 2012 - 4:47PM

    sunita williams in an indian american


  • Fahad Raza
    Jul 15, 2012 - 5:36PM

    Soviet Rockets are AWSOME….


  • Abhi
    Jul 15, 2012 - 9:19PM

    More power to sunita.Recommend

  • KDP
    Jul 15, 2012 - 11:40PM

    She is American. Her father although born in India is American too


  • khalsa
    Jul 15, 2012 - 11:48PM

    she is albeit an ambassador for indian state of gujrat. soooo


  • KDP
    Jul 16, 2012 - 8:57AM

    They are US Citizens of Indian descent no more no less just like Americans of European origin . It is time we stop identifying them as Indians and award them meaningless titles of Ambassadorship etc. State Governors like Boby Jindal, Nikki Haley and several such high profile Indian descent people care less for India. Let us not force any Indian ness upon them.


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