Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

Docking Successful

Vostok’s smooth and uneventful docking confirmed.

New residents have arrived at the International Space Station.

Vostok is now just one kilometer away from the International Space Station (ISS) and closing at a rate of 2 meters/second. Then it does a “fly around” and positions itself to dock to the Svesda Service Module on ISS. This docking port was occupied yesterday by the Progress 21 cargo craft.

It’s relatively busy in orbit around the Earth right now… with a crew on ISS, a crew on Soyuz TMA-9 and a crew on the Space Shuttle on the way home, there are 12 people on orbit. I look forward to the day when there are hundreds of human carrying spaceships in orbit, not just three.

Friends at Star City send reports that Anousheh is doing well, but recovering from an initial bout of space motion sickness. Space Motion Sickness hits about 40 percent of the astronauts who enter space. A quick injection of intramuscular phenergan can usually help. I’ve had the pleasure of flying Anousheh on two different occasions in parabolic flight with Zero-Gravity Corporation. She did amazingly well without any problems.

I bet Anousheh is looking out the window and can’t wait to open the hatch to visit her new home! The docking is being carried by NASA TV and the hatch opening ceremonies should take place at about 1:10am PDT / 4:10am EDT.

The NASA TV channel is now showing a beautiful view of the ISS with the Earth in the background. The view is coming from the Soyuz camera. In the middle of the image is a set of cross-hairs. The Soyuz is now at 10 meters and closing. Flight controllers are standing by for contact and capture of the ISS.

We have contact! Docking confirmed at 12:21 am CT, 9:21 am Moscow time! I bet Anousheh is happy!

The next step is the retraction of the docking probe, and a hard docking between the two vehicles to provide a tight seal.

Now we’ll have to wait for 3 hours of leak checks and system checks before the hatch is opened… then Anousheh will get nine days onboard the ISS to float around and share with us her adventures in orbit!

Peter H. Diamandis (at home in LA)