Soyuz MS-11 Launch and Dock as seen from the ISS

On December 3, 2018, a Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. It was the first manned launch since the Soyuz MS-10 spaceflight aborted shortly after launch on 11 October 2018 due to a failure of the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle boosters. Notes 1 It was the 100th orbital launch of 2018.

Soyuz MS-11 successfully docked to the ISS about six hours after the launch.

European Space Agency astronaut aboard the International Space Station, Alexander Gerst photographed the launch and the docking from the ISS and published these amazing photos on his Twitter account.

Soyuz MS-11 Launch from the ISS, December 3, 2018
Soyuz MS-11, the first crewed launch since the Soyuz MS-10 failure on October 11, 2018. As seen from the ISS, December 3, 2018. Photograph: Alexander Gerst on Twitter
Soyuz MS-11 Launch from the ISS, December 3, 2018
Soyuz MS-11 Launch from the ISS, December 3, 2018. Photograph: Alexander Gerst on Twitter
Soyuz MS-11 Launch from the ISS, December 3, 2018
Contrails can be clearly seen in this photo. Every rocket exhaust (also plane exhausts) contains water vapor. This water vapor immediately exposed to very cold temperatures at very high altitudes. This is called “contrails” (Condensation trails). Condensation is the change of the physical state of matter from the gas phase into the liquid phase and is the reverse of evaporation. Photograph: Alexander Gerst on Twitter
Soyuz MS-11 approaching to the ISS. December 3, 2018.
Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft approaching to the ISS. December 3, 2018. Photograph: Alexander Gerst on Twitter
Soyuz MS-11 approaching to the ISS. December 3, 2018.
Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft approaching to the ISS. December 3, 2018. Photograph: Alexander Gerst on Twitter
Expedition 57/58
Expedition 57 and 58 crewmembers at the ISS., after Soyuz MS-11 dock. Alexander Gerst (ESA), Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor (NASA), Sergey Prokopyev (RSA), Oleg Kononenko (RSA) , David Saint-Jacques (CSA) and Anne McClain (NASA). Gerst wrote: “Expedition 57 is at full count now. Welcome to the International Space Station, #SoyuzMS11 crew! And congrats to all international partners for preserving continuous human presence on Earth’s embassy in space, for more than 18 years now.” Photograph: Alexander Gerst on Twitter

Soyuz MS-11

Transporting the three members of the Expedition 58 crew to the International Space Station (NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko), it was the 140th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft and the 100th orbital launch of 2018.

After six hours from the launch, the spacecraft successfully docked to the ISS. While it is technically possible to launch the Soyuz rocket at any time, it’s most efficient to do so shortly after the International Space Station orbit passes over the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This shortens the amount of time to rendezvous and docking with the ISS from about two days to only six hours. However, if the Soyuz rocket misses the necessary launch window for any reason, the spacecraft has enough extra fuel to revert to a two-day-long rendezvous. This happened in March 2014 because of an altitude control problem.

The Soyuz spacecraft was designed by USSR’s Korolev Design Bureau (now RKK Energia) in the 1960s, originally built as part of the Soviet manned lunar programs. It remains in service today, and as of December 2018, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles. One Soyuz is always remains attached to the station to allow a quick return in an emergency.

A Soyuz-FG launch vehicle launched the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft with International Space Station Expedition 58-59 crew members, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on December 3, 2018, at 11:31 UTC (17:31 local time, 06:31 EST). The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the station’s Poisk module just 6 hours after launch, at 17:35 UTC (12:35 EST)

Gerst also created a time-lapse video of the Soyuz M-11 launch.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst had his camera handy once again to capture imagery of a Soyuz rocket launch while traveling above Earth in the International Space Station. The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft had NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Konenenko aboard and launched on December 3, 2018.

Notes

  1. On October 11, 2018, a few minutes after liftoff, the Soyuz M-10 craft went into contingency abort due to a booster failure and had to return to Earth. By the time the contingency abort was declared, the launch escape system (LES) tower had already been ejected and the capsule was pulled away from the rocket using the backup motors on the capsule fairing. Both crew members, Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, were recovered alive in good health.

Sources

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.