Apr 21, 2017 02:13 AM EDT
A veteran cosmonaut and a rookie astronaut departed into orbit on Thursday, April 20 to join crews in International Space Station. The two spacemen were launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz MS-04 blasted off in the afternoon at 1:13 p.m. local time or equivalent to 3:13 a.m. EDT, as reported by CBS News, carrying Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and young flight engineer Jack Fischer into space. Soyuz MS-04 will take six hours to approach International Space Station in the Earth orbit and will reach the Poisk module of the space station at approximately 9:23 a.m. EDT.
This flight is the fifth mission for Yurchikhin and the first for Jack Fischer. This is also the first time in 14 years of spaceflight history to carry two men crews into space on board the Soyuz. The launchpad where Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft took off, was also the launchpad where Yuri Gagarin went into orbit to become the first man in space 56 years ago.
Six hours after the launch, the Soyuz MS-04 space module carrying the 58-year-old cosmonaut and the 43-year-old astronaut reached the orbit and approaching the space station at 9:13 a.m. EDT as reported by Reuters. Two hours later, the hatches between Soyuz capsule and the space station opened, and the successful docking marked the completion of the spaceflight.
Fischer and Yurchikin reported to the Space Station commander Peggy Whitson. Subsequently, they received a congratulatory message from family and friends at the mission control center, situated outside Moscow. Fischer talked to his wife and mother describing what he saw outside the space station hours after his Soyuz flight succeeded.
The commander of the space station, Whitson is a seasoned U.S. astronauts and biochemist. She arrived at the space station on Nov. 19, 2016 on the Expedition 50-51, and became the commander of Expedition 51 of the International Space Station. Next Monday, she will become the longest U.S. astronaut who spends time in space, breaking the record held by Jeff Williams for 534 days.
Whitson, Fischer and Yurchikin will return to Earth in the next three months using the same Soyuz module Fischer and Yurchikin used. Watch the blast-off of Soyuz