At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Expedition 35/36 Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy (right), Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov (center) and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin clasp hands for photographers prior to the start of qualification simulation runs in a Soyuz spacecraft mock-up on March 5, 2013. The three crew members are training for launch March 29, Kazakh time, to the International Space Station in their Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. CREDIT: NASA


US-Russian Crew Launching to Space Station in Record Time

by Clara Moskowitz, Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 06 March 2013 Time: 04:35 PM ET

The next crew to launch toward the International Space Station will make the trip faster than any astronauts before them, thanks to a new docking plan being tested this month.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin are set to launch to the space station March 28 at 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT) aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. While it normally takes Soyuz vehicles two days to reach the orbiting laboratory after launch, Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin will make the trip in just six hours.

“I think it’s much more interesting when you fly faster,” Vinogradov said during a press conference at the crew’s Star City, Russia training site. “It’s just like in a train,” he added, saying he preferred to make quick train trips rather than spend many hours traveling.

Vinogradov and his crew are performing their final mission training for the Soyuz launch from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where the local time will be March 29 at liftoff. The six-hour journey will include just four orbits of Earth, officials said.

Read more: New Crew Making Super-Fast Trip to Space Station | Soyuz 6-Hour Docking |

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