We hope the flat-earthers are paying attention. Humanity has once again passed your imaginary ‘firmament’.
Today, humanity once again left this tiny fragile world. Photo at right shows Soyuz spacecraft on final approach to the International Space Station carrying Jeff Williams, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka. Let us wish them well as they begin their adventure on the ISS.
The following is a pictorial timeline of these exciting events.
A Flawless Launch
The spacecraft lifted off from Baikonur at 05:26pm Eastern Time and several minutes into the flight successfully separated from all of the booster rocket stages, setting a course towards the ISS.
On Final Approach
The Soyuz spacecraft approaches the docking ring at 23:09 Eastern Time.
This occurs almost 50 years to the day of the first docking of two spacecraft.
The first docking of two spacecraft was achieved on March 16, 1966 when Gemini 8, under the command of Neil Armstrong, rendezvoused and docked with an unmanned Agena Target Vehicle.
Jeff Williams: Born January 18, 1958, in Superior, Wisconsin, USA.
Served as the flight engineer and lead space walker for space shuttle flight STS-101, devoted to space station construction.
In 2006, Williams served as flight engineer for Expedition 13, launching on March 29 on the Russian Soyuz TMA-8 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan and docking with the station on March 31.
The Expedition 13 mission concluded on September 28 with a safe landing in central Kazakhstan.
On his third space flight, Williams served as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 21 and commanded Expedition 22, again launching from Baikonur on Soyuz TMA-16 on September 30 and docking on October 2, 2009. His third flight concluded on March 18, 2010, with the Soyuz landing in Kazakhstan.
Oleg Skripochka: born 24 December 1969 in Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol Krai, Russia.
On April 12, 2011, Skripochka was awarded the titles of Hero of the Russian Federation and Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation for courage and heroism in the implementation of long-duration space flight on the International Space Station.
In August 1997, he was selected as an RSC Energia cosmonaut-candidate. From December 1997 – November 1999, he completed basic spaceflight training. In November, 1999 he was qualified as a test cosmonaut. Since January 2000, he trained in the test-cosmonaut group for the ISS program. From April, 2007 – April, 2008 he trained as an ISS-17 backup crewmember (Soyuz TMA and ISS flight engineer). Skripochka served as flight engineer aboard the Soyuz TMA-M when it launched October 7, 2010 to the International Space Station. During his 5-month stay aboard the station, he served as a flight engineer for Expedition 25/26, spending 159 days in space.
Alexey Ovchinin: Born September 28, 1971 in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Region, Russia.
EDUCATION: Graduated from the Eisk Air Force Pilot School as pilot-engineer in 1992.
SPACEFLIGHT TRAINING: He was selected as a test-cosmonaut candidate of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Cosmonaut Office in October of 2006. Ovchinin finished basic space training in June 2009, and was qualified as test-cosmonaut.
EXPERIENCE: From August 1992 till February 1998 he served as an instructor-pilot at the Eisk Air Force Pilot School, and from February 1998 till September 2003 as an instructor–pilot and then as an air flight commander of the Krasnodar Aviation Institute.
From October 2003 served as an air flight commander of the 70th Test training air regiment named after V.S.Seryogin. He flew Yak-52 and L-39 aircraft. He logged over 1300 hours of flight time.
Preparing to Open the Airlock
In this image, taken at approximately 01:17 Eastern Time on March 19, the ISS airlock is already open while crew aboard the Soyuz spacecraft monitor air pressure as it equalizes with that of the station.
Several minutes pass as this occurs.
Once pressure is equalized, the crew receives the OK to open the spacecraft’s airlock.
Hatch is open at ~01:19 Eastern Time, new crew members welcomed aboard the ISS