Jason DavisSep 02, 2015

Ten-day Taxi Trip to International Space Station Underway

A ten-day International Space Station taxi flight is underway following the liftoff of a three-person crew from Kazahkstan. Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov of KazCosmos, the Kazakh Space Agency, launched into orbit aboard Soyuz TMA-18M Wednesday at 10:37 a.m. local time (12:37 a.m. EDT, 4:37 UTC). The crew will spend two days traveling to the station, pulling into port Friday, September 4. Because the ISS recently moved to avoid some wayward space debris, the new six-hour fast track Soyuz flight was not an option

Soyuz TMA-18M liftoff
Soyuz TMA-18M liftoff Image: Roscosmos

It will be a short stay for Mogensen and Aimbetov. The two rookies will return to Earth Saturday, September 11 with cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who launched to the station with one-year ISS crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko in March. Kelly and Kornienko's original Soyuz, TMA-16M, must be swapped out due to the spacecraft's half-year orbital lifespan. Sergey Volkov will remain aboard the station with the one-year crew until next year.

Mogensen and Aimbetov are both spaceflight rookies. Mogensen, a European Space Agency astronaut from Denmark, will perform a number of technology demonstrations aboard the ISS, including remote controlling a rover on the ground, and wearing a special body-squeezing garment designed to simulate the effect of Earth's gravity. Aimbetov, according to an article by the Moscow Times, is just Kazakhstan's third cosmonaut. The translation of a statement on the KazCosmos website calls Aimbetov "a true patriot of his country." 

Soyuz TMA-18M launch crew
Soyuz TMA-18M launch crew From left: Aidyn Aimbetov, Kazakh Space Agency; Andreas Mogensen, European Space Agency; Sergey Volkov, Roscosmos.Image: Roscosmos
Soyuz TMA-18M
Soyuz TMA-18M Image: Roscosmos

Let’s Go Beyond The Horizon

Every success in space exploration is the result of the community of space enthusiasts, like you, who believe it is important. You can help usher in the next great era of space exploration with your gift today.

Donate Today