Soyuz space module successfully docks with ISS

The Soyuz space mission has docked with the ISS without a problem. After the hatches are open between the two, the Russian cosmonauts and the fifth space tourist Charles Simonyi will move onboard the ISS.

The mission blasted off from the Baikonour space-launch complex in Kazakhstan on Saturday. Commander, Fyodor Yurchikhin, and the flight engineer, Oleg Kotov, are to replace Michael Lopez-Alegria and Mikhail Tyurin.

Another crew member onboard the ISS is the American astronaut Sunita Williams, who has been on the International Space Station since December 2006.

The latest space tourist, Charles Simonyi, will spend 12 days on the ISS and return to Earth with the previous expedition.

RT science analyst, Paul Tadich, says that everyone onboard the ISS has an important role to play in the mission. “The tourist, Charles Simonyi, isn’t just an observer. He is going to take part actively in some scientific experiments. It’s not a sort of critical, essential work but he will be doing some sort of secondary experiments […] He is going to be looking at how his muscles adapt to the zero gravity environment,” the expert stressed.

Meanwhile, Russian Proton-M heavy rocket has been launched from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan. It will take a Canadian communication satellite into orbit.

The Proton-M is one of the most successful heavy boosters rockets in the history of space exploration. It has been used to deliver communications satellites into orbit and Russian modules to the International Space Station and supplies for the mission. The rocket has a digital guidance system, which makes it very fuel efficient and reduces environmental pollution. With more than 300 launches so far, the Proton-M has proved to be 96% reliable.