Russian space agency Roscosmos is going to launch a spacecraft to the International Space Station this week. The Soyuz spaceship will carry a mixed crew, of Russian, Japanese and American astronauts to the laboratory orbiting Earth. The team will spend four months on the space station, before coming back to Earth, in October.
According to Roscosmos, the Soyuz rocket carrier was moved to a launch pad in Kazakhstan on Monday. Soyuz is going to be launched on Wednesday, and it will replace an old version of the spaceship which had previously been in service for six years.
The crewm embers are Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia, Takuya Onishi from Japan, Oleg Novitskiy from Russia, Peggy Whitson, from the USA and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency.
Rubins, Onishi and Ivanishin are to test the modified spaceship systems for two days, before making contact with the space station. The crew will then be welcomed by other astronauts on the space station. The new Soyuz equipment has some system upgrades, such as an improved vehicle navigation, communications and control systems. The systems were tested on board Progress cargo missions.
However, bad news looms over the horizon with regards to the Russian-American space partnership. Apparently, Russia has no intention of transporting US astronauts to the International Space Station after 2018. A Russian responsible told the media that after the current contracts expire, Russia has no plans of making new agreements.
Currently, the only mean of transport between the ISS and Earth is Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. The US started relying on Russia for transport of its astronauts to the International Space Station since 2012. New generation manned vehicles fro Space X, and Boeing are currently under development in the USA.
The International Space program has shown the possibility of co-op between Russia and the US and one of the aims of the program is to train astronauts to survive on Mars. NASA and Roscosmos issued a joint statement pointing out that through close collaboration, the two powers can advance knowledge about the solar system, Earth, our Sun and the Universe so that humanity can benefit.
These types of missions are good for developing technology and bring out economic opportunities. Russia’s going to launch the spacecraft this Wednesday.
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