The Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two US astronauts and a Russia cosmonaut launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome as scheduled early Wednesday. The new crew members arrived at the International Space Station about six hours later

U.S., Russian crew transfer to space station

Two U.S. astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday, about six hours after their Soyuz spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed.

Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:17 a.m. local time on Wednesday (21:17 GMT/17:17 EDT on Tuesday).

Their spacecraft docked at 8:55 a.m..

The crew successfully performed a fast-track transit to the station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, to begin a five-month mission.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two US astronauts and a Russia cosmonaut launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome as scheduled early Wednesday. The new crew members arrived at the International Space Station about six hours later

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two US astronauts and a Russia cosmonaut launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome as scheduled early Wednesday. The new crew members arrived at the International Space Station about six hours later

THE STENCH OF SPACE

In an interview about the experiences detailed in his upcoming space memoir Endurance, Wired asked NASA astronaut Scott Kelly if he ever finds himself in a place where the smells trigger a memory of being in space.

And, Kelly revealed the ISS smells like jail, citing the similarities in their ‘combinations of antiseptic, garbage, and body odor.’

While touring Harris County Jail in Texas, Kelly said he got a whiff in one room that transported him right back to his days on the ISS.

He explained that people in the ISS use deodorant, rinse off, shower, and that the smell isn’t that bad, ‘but there’s a little body odor going on for sure.’

‘Mostly it’s just exercise clothes people wear for a couple weeks without washing.’

NASA says residents of the ISS only change their socks and underwear every other day, and shirts and pants every 10 days.

It might sound unsanitary to earthlings but, according to the agency, these garments do not get as dirty in space as they do on earth.

Failure would have forced the spacecraft to take a two-day route for another attempt at docking.

Misurkin, Vande Hei and Acaba have joined NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Russia’s Sergey Ryazanskiy and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency who have been aboard the orbital outpost since July.

To commemorate the upcoming 60th anniversary on Oct.4 of the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, the Soyuz crew used its small model as a zero gravity indicator during the flight on Wednesday.

The crew blasted off for the International Space Station in a nighttime launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday, heading for a five-month mission.

The Soyuz MS-06 rocket carrying Alexander Misurkin of the Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, NASA first-time flyer Mark Vande Hei and his veteran colleague Joe Acaba launched as scheduled at 3:17 am (2117 GMT), according to images broadcast live by Roscosmos.

The launch marks the first time two US astronauts have blasted off together on a mission to the ISS from Russia’s Baikonur since June 2010.

The American space agency stopped its own manned launches to the ISS in 2011 but recently moved to increase its crew complement aboard the orbital lab as the Russians cut theirs in a cost-saving measure announced last year.

Acaba, 50, has spent nearly 138 days in space over two missions, while Vande Hei, 50, served with the US army in Iraq before training as an astronaut.

Misurkin, 39, who is beginning his second mission aboard the ISS, also has a military background.

Speaking at the pre-launch news conference on Monday, Acaba, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, said he would be taking some ‘musica Latina’ on board to lift his crewmates’ spirits.

‘I can guarantee my crewmates they will not fall asleep during that music and if you want to dance at about 3 am tuned into our Soyuz capsule I think you’ll enjoy it,’ he told journalists.

The launch has been overshadowed by deadly storms that have battered the Caribbean and the southern half of the United States.

Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:17 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2117 GMT/1717 EDT on Tuesday)

Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:17 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2117 GMT/1717 EDT on Tuesday)

External cameras on the ISS captured footage of hurricane Irma last week brewing over the Atlantic as it prepared to wreak deadly havoc.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston said earlier this month it suffered ‘significant’ damage during Hurricane Harvey, although Mission Control remained operational.

Vande Hei struck a sombre note in a pre-launch tweet on Monday.

‘L-2 days. Sunrise over Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Praying for the people of Florida as well as the continued recovery of the Texas Gulf Coast,’ he said.

Space is one of the few areas of international cooperation between Russia and the US that has not been wrecked by tensions over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

The ISS orbits the Earth at a height of about 250 miles (400 kilometres), circling the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometres) per hour.

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