Roberto Vittori's diary from space: Arrival at the Station

Limited space inside the Soyuz TMA-6 capsule
20 April 2005

It has been a long second day in the Soyuz. The space in the Habitation Module is very very limited. In this narrow place we have to do everything: eat, sleep, rest, wash, etc.

One of the biggest challenges has been the time shift we have to face. In fact, launch, insertion into orbit, and also approach and docking are all performed at night.

Sergei, having already flown five times, immediately feels at home. For John and I, although we both have one previous spaceflight experience, the adaptation is a little slower.

On Saturday night we start procedures to approach the Station. We dress again in our Sokol suits and return to the Command Module.

Vittori, Phillips and Krikalev during the two-day journey to the International Space Station

All went according to plan, but it was very long and tiring. It is very tense when you are so close to the Station. At the moment of docking, the two spacecraft travel at a speed of about 27.000 km/hour, approximately 8 km/sec. At that speed the two spaceships have to join with a relative velocity of 0.15 m/sec or less. Difficult even for us to imagine.

Docking went without any problems. After performing the necessary checks, we open the hatch. We are on board the International Space Station.

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.