ESA astronaut arrives at the ISS
After two days onboard a Soyuz spacecraft, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, along with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos commander Oleg Novitsky, has docked with the International Space Station!
The Soyuz design of spacecraft has been in use for almost 50 years, but it has recently been upgraded. Thomas is the first ESA astronaut to fly inside this latest version! For the crew, the journey was like spending two days inside a small car – although with a spectacular view out of the window! They kept in radio contact with ground control in Moscow.
After docking with the International Space Station, the hatch was opened and Thomas, Peggy and Oleg were welcomed aboard by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and Sergei Ryzhikov. The six of them will now work together to keep the Station running smoothly.
After their six months are up, Thomas, Peggy and Oleg will once again board a Soyuz but this time will be heading in the opposite direction: back to Earth! The plan is for them to land in Kazakhstan, where helicopters will be sent to meet them. Meanwhile, ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli is readying himself for launch in 2017 shortly after Thomas returns!
Cool fact: Thomas’s mission, Proxima, is named after the star closest to the Sun. It is tradition to name missions with French astronauts after stars and constellations.