On 17 July Akihiko Hoshide, Yuri Malenchenko and Sunita Williams (who had lifted off two days earlier from Baïkonur) joined their colleagues Joe Acaba, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin on board the International Space Station.
The full Expedition 32 crew on board the International Space Station. Top from left to right: Joe Acaba, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin. Bottom (again from left to right), the new arrivals: Akihiko Hoshide, Yuri Malenchenko and Sunita Williams. Crédit : NASA TV/Enjoy Space
La relève de l’équipage de l’ISS est désormais complétée. This means that the ISS now has a full crew. It should be recalled that on the 1st of July the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononeko, the European Andre Kuipers and American Donald Pettit from Expedition 31 returned to Earth with their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft (see this article). In the Space Station, the next Expedition (no 32) began with only three astronauts remaining in space: Russian Gennady Padalka (commander), his fellow countryman Sergei Revin and American Joe Acaba. Then on 15 July a Soyuz TMA-05M lifted off from the Baïkonur cosmodrome with Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, Russian Yuri Malenchenko and American Sunita Williams (see this other article) The TMA-05M docked successfully with the ISS this Tuesday 17 July at 04:51 am Universal Time - (UT - the reference time used on the Space station; add two hours for French time). The video below shows the rendezvous sequence at a height of 400 km above the Earth.
Less than three hours later the hatches between the Soyuz and the ISS were opened and the six astronauts on Expedition 32 met inside the orbital complex. They then all took part in the traditional video link to Earth (video below).
It was pointed out that this docking coincided with the 37th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 which saw the first rendezvous in orbit between an American Apollo spacecraft and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft.
On Monday 6 August the Mars rover Curiosity should land on the red planet. From today Enjoy Space and Cité de l’Espace are offering you the chance to follow this event on Twitter, and then by video, direct from the NASA JPL in California!
This is the mythical rocket par excellence, the one that launched Sputnik, the first satellite and Gagarin, the first man in space. The CSG, Guiana Space Centre, is now one of its launch bases: a historic achievement.