Three-man crew reaches space station as
U.S. boosts research
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[July 31, 2017]
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A new crew
arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, giving NASA for
the first time four astronauts to boost U.S. research projects aboard
the orbiting laboratory.
A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three spaceflight veterans slipped into
a docking port aboard the station at 5:54 p.m. EDT (2154 GMT) as the
$100 billion research outpost sailed about 250 miles (400 km) over
Germany, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
Strapped inside the capsule, which blasted off aboard a Soyuz rocket
from Kazakhstan six hours earlier, were Randy Bresnik, with the U.S.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Sergey Ryazanskiy, with
the Russian space agency Roscosmos; and Italy's Paolo Nespoli, with the
European Space Agency.
The men will join two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut already
aboard the station, a project of 15 nations.
Their arrival means the U.S. space agency now has four crew members
instead of three available for medical experiments, technology
demonstrations and other research aboard the station, the U.S. space
The extra astronaut will effectively double the amount of time for
research, program manager Kirk Shireman said at a station conference
NASA does not oversee the Russian staff, which was reduced to two in
April until a long-delayed research module joins the station next year.
Previously, Russia flew three cosmonauts, with the remaining three
positions filled by a combination of European, Japanese, Canadian and
U.S. astronauts, who are trained and overseen by NASA.
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The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft carrying the crew of Paolo Nespoli of
Italy, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Russia and Randy Bresnik of the U.S.
blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the
launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan July 28, 2017.
By the end of next year, NASA intends to begin flying astronauts aboard
space taxis under development by SpaceX and Boeing. Both spaceships have
room for a fourth seat, bumping the stationís overall crew size to seven
once Russia returns to full staffing.
NASA is using the station to prepare for human missions to the moon and
Mars and to stimulate commercial space transportation, pharmaceutical
research, manufacturing and other businesses.
The agency also conducts physics, astronomy and Earth science
investigations aboard the outpost, which has been staffed by rotating
crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since 2000.
Bresnik, 49, last flew on the space shuttle in 2009 during a space
station assembly mission. Ryazanskiy, 42, spent five-and-a-half months
aboard the station in 2013-2014. Nespoli, 60, is making his third space
flight, having previously served on both space shuttle and space station
The men are slated to return to Earth in December.
(Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown)
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