The three space travelers of the Soyuz MS-17 mission are making their final preparations ahead of a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station.
The flight is scheduled to lift off on a Soyuz 2.1a booster from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Site No. 31/6, in Kazakhstan at 05:45:04 UTC on 14 October (01:45:04 EDT), lofting its international crew to space for a very fast, two orbit, three hour rendezvous with Station.
Ultrafast rendezvous method:
The launch will mark a milestone for a crewed Soyuz spacecraft, being the first to use a new “ultrafast” rendezvous scheme with the ISS. Assuming a nominal launch into the correct orbit, Soyuz MS-17 will be able to catch up with the orbiting laboratory in only two orbits (three hours), halving the time it takes for crew to get to the Station.
This method takes over from the previous one that saw Soyuz spacecraft spend four orbits in free-flight to catch up with the ISS in approximately six hours. That method, which was first used with crew on Soyuz TMA-08M in March 2013, took over from an even older method, where the Soyuz would complete 34 orbits before arriving at the ISS, leaving the crew inside the ...