Tim Peake boards International Space Station and reports on ‘beautiful launch’

The 26m horsepower rocket engines burned 270 tonnes of kerosene and liquid oxygen in nine minutes to rendezvous with the space station, which circles the planet at 17,500mph, 248 miles above the surface.

11.03am GMT The Soyuz rocket launches on time from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the European Space Agency’s Tim Peake, Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra, and Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko. Their destination, the ISS, has flown overhead three minutes earlier at 17,500mph.

11.10am The Soyuz rocket reaches an altitude of 100km, the point at which the crew are officially in space. At this stage most of the rocket’s 270 tonnes of kerosene and liquid oxygen have been burned to escape the pull of Earth’s gravity.

11.12am The Soyuz reaches orbit having shed its four large boosters and rocket stages. When the final, third rocket stage shuts down, the astronauts are thrown forwards in their seats by the deceleration. The spacecraft deploys its solar arrays and uses smaller burns to raise its orbit to 400km above Earth and gradually close the distance to the ISS.

5.20pm A problem with the automatic docking computer means Malenchenko is unhappy with the approach trajectory. He must take over manual control and fly the spacecraft into position. A failure of the docking system is an eventuality the pilots train hard for, and Malenchenko, one of Russia’s most experienced cosmonauts, has done this countless times in simulations.

5.33pm Malenchenko backs the Soyuz away and then lines up the space station in the capsule’s cross hairs. After three attempts, he cautiously edges the vessel into position until it is captured by the station’s docking mechanism. Mission controllers in Moscow radio the crew and confess that for a moment they were worried.

7.59pm The hatch separating the Soyuz from the ISS finally opens, allowing Peake and the rest of the capsule’s crew to step into their new home for the next six months. They are welcomed aboard and immediately go into a two-way video link with family and friends in Baikonur.

More: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/dec/15/first-uk-astronaut-tim-peake-boards-international-space-station-beautiful-launch?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H&utm_term=143991&subid=17458371&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2



About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence.
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