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Blast-off in Baikonur.
This morning a Soyuz rocket took off from the Russian space center in Baikonur, carrying the second half of the Expedition 33 crew to the ISS. On board were astronaut Kevin Ford, and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin. They will join Expedition 33 commander Suni Williams, astronaut Aki Hoshide and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko who have been on the station since July 17.
Nice ascent to orbit.
As usual, the second part of the current expedition 33 will become the next expedition's primary crew once the current commander and crew depart. When Commander Williams and her crew leave in November, then Kevin Ford will become the Expedition 34 commander and his crew will await their second half in December.
The Soyuz is expected to dock with ISS at 8:35 a.m. Thursday.
Expedition 33 prime crew. L-R: Tarelkin, Novitskiy, Ford. Evgeny Novitskiy commands the Soyuz to the ISS. Picture taken in front of the Soyuz TMA-06M capsule before it was integrated with its launcher. They are expected to remain on ISS for five months.
Technician works on the Orbcomm satellite. Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.
The big focus for space enthusiasts lately has been the remarkable mission of SpaceX's Dragon capsule to the ISS. While the station resupply effort went well, the secondary payload on the Falcon 9 rocket ended in failure. Due to a malfunctioning engine, other engines on the Falcon rocket overcompensated and burned longer than planned, resulting in the wrong orbital placement of the OrbComm satellite. Built by the Sierra Nevada Corporation, Orbcomm was an engineering test vehicle to help establish a new network of communication satellites. This example was a prototype, designed to test how the system would react in its orbital environment. There are 18 small satellites planned for the system, all due to be launched on Falcon 9 rockets. Unfortunately, the wrong orbit placement caused the Orbcomm to fail its mission and it de-orbited. NASA and SpaceX engineers are investigating the failure while company executives plan a way to continue this mission.
Meanwhile, there have been other launches around the world.
Delta 4 launch from pad 37 at Cape Canaveral, October 4. On board was the GPS 2F-3 satellite. This was a replacement satellite for an older one in the GPS system we all rely on. The satellite reached its intended orbit just fine. Credit: Pat Corkery/ULA.
A Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off from the European Space Agency's French Guiana launch site on October 12. It carried a pair of satellites for the Galileo navigation system, which affects many drivers, airplanes, and ships around the world. Successful placement of satellites. Credit: ESA.
On Sunday October 14, China launched a Long March 2C rocket from the Taiyuan space facility. It carried two Shijuan-9 engineering test satellites into space to study new satellite test equipment. This photo is of a previous Long March launch. Credit from Chinese News Agency.
A Russian Proton blasted off from the Baikonur site in Kazakhstan on Sunday October 14. It carried an Intelsat telecommunications satellite into orbit. Credit: Krunichev.
By Mark Daymont
Space Center Educator