Tags: Kazakhstan Space Launch

Soyuz Crew Ready for Space Station Mission

Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 07:27 AM

 

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — A three-person crew put aside off last-minute jitters about their craft as they underwent final preparations for Wednesday's launch for a five-month stint at the International Space Station.

Russia's Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and the European Space Agency's Paolo Nespoli of Italy have received the final official clearance for the launch from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan onboard the Russian-made Soyuz TMA-20 at 1909 GMT (2:09 p.m. EST).

Speaking ahead of the launch, Kondratyev shrugged off worries about the re-entry module of their Soyuz craft, which was hastily replaced earlier this month after it had been damaged during unloading at the Baikonur.

"All the procedures needed to check the integrity of the ship have been completed, and all those have shown positive results," Kondratyev said at a final news conference ahead of the launch. "We have absolutely no doubts about the reliability of the craft and that the flight will take place as planned."

The coming year is set to see an intense burst of activity at the station, with the arrival of several cargo craft delivered by the U.S., Russian, European and Japanese space agencies.

The three astronauts will be at the space station in April to mark the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's mission, the first human flight into space.

"As the crew that is onboard the International Space Station on this very special day, we won't be walking on the pages of history, we'll be floating," Coleman told reporters from behind a protective plate of glass. The crew is kept in strict isolation in the days ahead of the launch to avoid exposure to infection.

International space operations are set to enter a new phase next year with the U.S. shuttle fleet is mothballed. Two more shuttle missions are planned, after which the Soyuz will be the only vehicle available to transport crews to the orbiting laboratory.

In an indication of the increasingly international flavor of space missions, the three astronauts flying Thursday all come from different countries — a development hailed by Nespoli.

"If we want to keep going on with this exploration, going back to moon or Mars ... we need to put together all the resources that are around the world," he said.

Despite this diplomatic bonhomie, however, national differences may persist when it comes to culinary tastes.

Nespoli, a native of the northern Italian region of Lombardy, has been churning out a steady stream of messages on his Twitter account, including one jokingly complaining about a recent breakfast in Baikonur of over-boiled pasta and chicken.

"The problem is that, as Italians, we have a very strict way of eating, and that breakfast broke every single rule that we have," Nespoli told reporters.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

NASA Launches Earth-observing Satellite

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 12:48 PM

A NASA satellite lifted off early Saturday on a three-year mission to track the amount of water locked in soil, which ma . . .

After Historic Balloon Journey, Crew Plans Landing Saturday

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 07:45 AM

Two pilots from the U.S. and Russia have traveled farther and longer in a gas balloon than anyone in history, trying to  . . .

GMO Mosquito Plan Sparks Debate in Florida

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 07:44 AM

A British company's plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved