End of an era? Russian spacecraft completes last manned flight to ISS at NASA’s request

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This Wednesday (14), the Russian Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) in record time: it took only three hours and three minutes for NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud -Sverchkov, from Roscosmos, arrived at the orbital laboratory for a six-month mission in what is now Expedition 64. The flight must also mark the end of an era, as this launch was the last contracted by NASA with the Russians having the ISS as a destination.

Rubins and Ryzhikov are making their second space flight, while Kud-Sverchkov is going through the first experience. The trio will work on technology development research, Earth sciences, biology studies and other subjects. Conducting research in microgravity is important for NASA to prepare for future long-term missions on Mars and the Moon, in addition to the improvements generated for life on Earth.

The three joined the current ISS crew, (astronaut Chris Cassidy and commanders Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, from Expedition 63), who are due to return to Earth on October 21 in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, too. According to Roscosmos, the travel time was the shortest on record – generally, journeys to the ISS take about six hours. Even so, that time is already better than it was in the past, since 2013 flights needed two days to reach the orbital station.

This launch takes place between two manned missions that NASA has been doing with SpaceX (the Demo-2, which took two astronauts there for testing purposes, and Crew-1, recently postponed to the month of November). With the entry of the company of Elon Musk (and, in the future, Boeing) in this transport of American astronauts, from American soil, to the ISS, the United States must finally end its partnership with Russia for this type of space travel. . This partnership began in 2011, when the United States ended its space shuttle program. From now on, the idea is that the country will be independent of the Russians once and for all in this transport to Earth’s orbit – even though NASA has not officially declared that it will no longer hire Roscosmos from now on.

Source: Spacenews, Phys.org, NASA

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