Russian space officials put a Soyuz spacecraft on top of its launch rocket today. The rocket was put in place at the Russian manned-space facility in the frigid country of Kazakhstan in preparation for a mission spanning five months. The rocket will send three new astronauts to the international space station. The Russians rolled the spacecraft out of its hanger atop a flatbed train at exactly 7 AM.
The precise 7 AM time for the spacecraft to leave the hanger has to do with strict compliance with Russian tradition. The transit from the spacecraft's hanger took two hours at roughly a walking pace. Temperatures near the launchpad were as cold as -22°F, but colleagues, friends, and relatives of the astronauts who will be taking the trip into space aboard the rocket turned out to watch the rocket make its trip to the launchpad.
The astronauts who will be taking the Soyuz into space include NASA's Tom Marshburn, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and a Canadian astronaut named Chris Hadfield. The rocket liftoff this Wednesday and the trip to the international space Station will last two days. There are currently three other astronauts living and working aboard the International Space Station.
Despite the frigid cold, Russian officials saying the temperatures have little effect on the Soyuz rocket. The three astronauts who will travel to the international space Station aboard the rocket had been in nearby Baikonur for almost 2 weeks making final preparations for the mission. During the time before the rocket is set to launch, checks will be carried out and the booster rockets will be fueled.
[via ABC News]