New Soyuz Launch Today

#1
It just went from Kazakhstan and is now successfully in orbit, pursuing the Space Station.

It contains three astronauts. Two of them are the same astronauts whose booster came apart a few months ago, a Russian and an American. A third astronaut, an American woman, was added for this flight.

A video of the launch might be available on NASA TV

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#public

Christina Koch (US) She has two BS degrees from North Carolina State, in Physics and Electrical Engineering, plus an MSEE. (She's earned her nerd glasses!) Before joining NASA in 2013 she worked for NOAA where she was their station chief in American Samoa.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Koch

Aleksey Ovchinin (Russia) Diplomas from a couple of Higher Military Pilot Schools, plus a career as a military pilot instructor and eventually commander of something called the 70th Separate Test Training Aviation Regiment of Special Purpose (OITAPON) before becoming a cosmonaut. He's a space veteran, having already spent 172 days in space on earlier space flights.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksey_Ovchinin

Nick Hague (US) BS in Aerospace Engineering from the US Air Force Academy and an MS in Aerospace Engineering from MIT. He's also a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School. He has worked on various advanced projects, he did a tour in Iraq where he again worked on testing experimental airborne reconnaissance technologies in the field, and has taught classes at the USAF Academy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Hague

Both Ovchinin and Hague were aboard that Soyuz capsule whose booster came apart a few months ago, barely escaping with their lives. They're both bad-ass test pilots though, so they can take it.
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#2
While I was looking up astronauts on wikipedia, I looked up Astroannimal. She's actually kind of remarkable.

Astroannimal graduated from West Point with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Then she went to England on a Marshall scholarship where she earned an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Bath and a second masters degree in International Security from the University of Bristol. At the same time she was making a name for herself in women's rugby, which she plays at a professional level.

She couldn't qualify for the US national team in the women's rugby world cup because of her Army commitments. She qualified instead as a helicopter pilot and flew 216 combat missions in Iraq. She earned a Bronze Star and three Air Medals including one 'with Valor', plus a bunch of other medals and commendations. Then she graduated from the Navy Test Pilot School and has flown a bunch of aircraft types, mostly helicopters. Then she tried out for the astronauts and became the youngest astronaut on NASA's roster. She says that being an astronaut was her ambition from when she was a child. Now she's up on the Space Station, flirting with Little Earth.

https://twitter.com/astroannimal?lang=en


[Image: D0-4JwTXgAEgRwu.jpg]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_McClain

Way to go, Ann!

The Soyuz with Ovchinin, Koch and Hague aboard is scheduled to arrive at the Space Station soon. Hatch opening is planned for 11:10 PM EDT/8:10 PM PDT. It will be broadcast here:

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#public

Coverage starts 10:30 PM EDT/7:30 PM PDT, in just a few minutes.
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#3
(Mar 15, 2019 02:43 AM)Yazata Wrote: While I was looking up astronauts on wikipedia, I looked up Astroannimal. She's actually kind of remarkable. [...] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_McClain

Way to go, Ann!


Quite a career. And kudos to her nym engineering. Animal is one of the words I considered projecting "Ann" into in the past for the name of an animated gif, but didn't go with it. She figured out how to make it work, but even without the prefix I can see now (too late) that it would still look cool. In the end I went with a derivative of "anachronistic", which doesn't even pronounce like "Ann" or "Anna" at the beginning. Ah well...

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#4
(Mar 14, 2019 08:29 PM)Yazata Wrote: Aleksey Ovchinin (Russia) Diplomas from a couple of Higher Military Pilot Schools, plus a career as a military pilot instructor and eventually commander of something called the 70th Separate Test Training Aviation Regiment of Special Purpose (OITAPON) before becoming a cosmonaut. He's a space veteran, having already spent 172 days in space on earlier space flights.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksey_Ovchinin

Wikipedia to the rescue. It tells me that the 70th Separate Test and Training Aviation Regiment Special Purpose is a special Russian air force unit that answers directly to the air force headquarters in Moscow and apparently serves the needs of the Russian State Scientific-Research Institute Centre for Cosmonaut Training.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forces_of_...Force_2008
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#5
(Mar 15, 2019 02:43 AM)Yazata Wrote: While I was looking up astronauts on wikipedia, I looked up Astroannimal. She's actually kind of remarkable.

Astroannimal and Nick Hague were outside for hours today replacing batteries and associated electrical gear.

Here's Astroannimal at the battery box. Each of the white units contains a battery. As Jonathan McDowell notes, these are not AAA's !


[Image: D2RC_VdWwAAo9pw.jpg]



Here's Astroannimal (the one at the bottom) holding what looks like the lid to a battery compartment.


[Image: D2RJMicXQAATZvc.jpg]


Here's the station's robot arm delivering the new batteries. Luckily they are weightless. They still have mass and momentum though.


[Image: D2REdEJXQAAG4Wf.jpg]


And here's a photo taken from the space station cupola of Astroannimal (visible in the middle left) removing a small piece of debris that had gotten into some mechanism.  


[Image: D2R_aZOWkAI3pcL.jpg]


And you thought that changing batteries at home was a pain!
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