Technology • 15 March, 2019

Soyuz MS-12 manned spacecraft reaches orbit

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Russia’s Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft with three crew members on board separated from the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket and embarked upon an autonomous journey to the International Space Station (ISS), a Roscosmos official told TASS on Thursday.

"The spacecraft separated in normal regime," the official said.

A speaker who provides mission coverage at the Korolyov-based Russian mission control center said the spacecraft had unfurled its solar panels.

According to telemetry data, all parameters of the spacecraft’s orbit correspond to nominal ones.

NASA head Jim Bridenstine congratulated the Soyuz crew on a successful launch in a brief statement.

"Congratulations to AstroHague, Astro_Christina and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin on today’s successful launch! So proud of Nick Hague for persevering through last October’s launch that didn’t go as planned. Ad Astra!" he wrote on his Twitter page.

The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying a Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft with Alexei Ovchinin, Nick Hague and Christina Koch blasted off the Baikonur space center at 22:14 Moscow time. The mission will use the short flight scheme rather than the traditional two-day one, and the spacecraft will make four orbits in six hours to chase the ISS.

The docking with the space station is scheduled for 04:47 Moscow time, March 15.

The new ISS Expedition 59/60 will last 204 days.

Originally, Ovchinin and Hague were to arrive on board the ISS in October 2018, but their space mission was aborted shortly after the launch due to a rocket failure. Emergency and rescue systems were activated in time, and the crew was not hurt.

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