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Friday, March 29, 2013

A Soyuz TMA-08M rocket carrying the Soyuz 34S spacecraft launches from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 29, 2013 (Kazakh Time).
NASA / Carla Cioffi

The Soyuz Express... At 2:43 AM, Kazakh Time yesterday, a Soyuz TMA-08M rocket launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to ferry the second half of the Expedition 35 crew to the International Space Station (ISS). What made this particular flight unique was that it took the Soyuz 34S capsule only six hours to reach and dock with the ISS. Previous Soyuz and unmanned Progress vehicles, as well as SpaceX's Dragon capsules and even the now-retired space shuttles, took at least two days to rendezvous with the orbital outpost. The new flight profile for Soyuz was first tested on the Progress M-16M and M-17M freighters...which flew to the station last year. Aboard Soyuz 34S were Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA) Commander Pavel Vinogradov, RSA Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin and NASA Flight Engineer Christopher Cassidy, respectively.

A Soyuz TMA-08M rocket carrying the Soyuz 34S spacecraft launches from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 29, 2013 (Kazakh Time).
NASA / Carla Cioffi

An Expedition 35 crew member aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photo of the Soyuz TMA-08M rocket heading out of the atmosphere following launch on March 29, 2013 (Kazakh Time).
NASA

The Soyuz 34S spacecraft is about to dock with the ISS six hours after launch on March 29, 2013 (Kazakh Time).
NASA TV

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