Open the hatch that separates the International Space Station from the Russian Soyuz shuttle, which docked shortly after 20.00. The three cosmonauts aboard Soyuz, Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov entered with a smile, and were greeted with a hug by the seven crew members of the International Space Station: Russians Anton Kaplerov and Peter Dobrov from Roscosmos, and Germany’s Matthias Maurer from the agency. The ESA spacecraft and Americans Raya Shari, Thomas Mashburn, Kayla Barrow and Mark Vande are from NASA.
European Maurer with Russians Shkaplerov and Dubrov opened the hatch of the space station. Then all the crew members of the International Space Station approached to welcome the Russian colleagues, and to prepare the cameras, which is always inevitable on these occasions. As soon as the Soyuz hatch also opened, all three Russians on board looked on, smiling, dressed in bright yellow clothes.
Matveyev was the first to enter, followed by Korsakov and finally Artemyev, in a series of affectionate hugs between colleagues. The Russians, Americans and German Maurer, who celebrated his birthday today, all together took part in the usual contact with the Russian Control Center, where the newly arrived astronauts had the opportunity to greet their families. The calm and serene atmosphere seems very far from the struggle on the ground.
The Russian Soyuz shuttle had docked at the International Space Station shortly after 20:00. This is Souyz’s first contact with the new Russian unit Prichalsx and is also the first Russian launch after the invasion of Ukraine and strong international tensions that have undermined decades of peaceful cooperation in space.
The shuttle arrived with the three astronauts on the birthday of Matthias Maurer, the German astronaut for the European Space Agency (ESA) who today celebrates 52 years (in the fifth month of his first mission on the International Space Station). The three astronauts who are about to reach the International Space Station will remain in orbit on a six-and-a-half-month mission, during which they will carry out a maximum of seven spacewalks, as expected during a press conference organized before launch. by Roscomos.
Their compatriots Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov will return to Earth on March 30 aboard the Soyuz MS-19 with American Mark Vande Hei. At the moment, this return flight does not seem to be in question, despite the fact that a few weeks ago the head of the Russian Space Agency Dmitry Rogozin re-launched a parody video on social media that showed Russian cosmonauts ready to return to Earth leaving. American on the International Space Station. Instead, the SpaceX Crew Dragon will reach orbit in April with three NASA astronauts and ESA’s Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, ready to work on its Minerva mission.
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