Sat, Nov 05, 2011
Compares Sporty Soyuz To Truck-Like NASA Space Shuttles
NASA's now retired Space Shuttle was big. Critics of the fleet's
retirement liked to liken it to a spacegoing truck, noting that no
other spacecraft could take its place when large or heavy objects
had to get to the International Space Station. But at least one US
astronaut who's flown on the shuttles is looking forward to
strapping into a Russian capsule atop a Soyuz rocket for his next
trip to the ISS, for the same reason many of us prefer driving a
Miata to driving a Mack.
Astronaut Daniel Burbank is a 50-year-old veteran of the US
space program who's been to the ISS twice onboard the shuttle. He's
scheduled to launch for another mission November 14, atop a Soyuz.
Reuters notes that his fellow crewmembers will be two first-timers,
Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov, both Russians.
Of the upcoming mission, Burbank says, "To me the Soyuz is like
a sports car and the shuttle is like an 18-wheeler. I am very much
looking forward to the ride."
This will be the first manned mission since a similar Soyuz
rocket carrying cargo for automated docking at the ISS
malfunctioned, crashing in Siberia in August. After a thorough
investigation, it was determined that incident was the result of an
isolated problem. The last cargo mission, launched last Saturday,
went off without a hitch. This will be the first attempt at a
manned mission since the brief stand-down.
Of the dangers, Ivanishin observes, "Humanity is too curious to
remain tied to the Earth's gravitational pull. Sometimes we face
difficulties. Sometimes we lose ships. It is sad but, thankfully,
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