The Soyuz-MS 24 spacecraft, launched today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, docked with the International Space Station. On board are Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, as well as American NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara. The expedition takes place within the framework of the agreement between Russia and the United States on cross-flights.
Soyuz-MS 24 took off from Baikonur at 18.44 Moscow time on Friday. Its flight followed an ultra-fast two-orbit rendezvous scheme, and the travel time to the ISS was just over three hours.
Russian cosmonauts will spend 365 days on the ISS and return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft in September 2024. Loral O’Hara is scheduled to leave the ISS on the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft in March 2024, when she will be replaced by another American astronaut.
The plans of the Russian part of the crew include four spacewalks, a meeting of four Progress MS cargo ships and conducting scientific and applied research. Laural O’Hara, according to NASA, will be responsible for several dozen experiments.
The flight of Kononenko, Chub and O’Hara was supposed to take place back in March. However, after a coolant leak was discovered in the Soyuz descent module docked to the ISS, the return date of the previous crew – Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Petelin and American astronaut Frank Rubio – was delayed by six months.