Go, Soyuz!
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin give the thumbs-up before their launch.
May 15th, 2012
10:52 AM ET

Go, Soyuz!

There are three more men in space Tuesday than there were 24 hours ago. Monday night at 11:01 p.m. EDT, the remaining three members of the Expedition 31 crew launched aboard the Soyuz spacecraft and are now on their way to the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Joe Acaba (@AstroAcaba), as well as Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin will join commander Oleg Kononenko and flight engineers Don Pettit (@Astro_Pettit) and Andre Kuipers, who are already aboard the ISS.

Monday night's launch, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, was preceded by the usual pre-launch activities:  the crew signed the door of their crew quarters, were blessed by a Russian Orthodox priest, and said goodbye to their families before getting their suits checked and boarding the spacecraft.

Onboard with the three men, acting as this flight's talisman, was a stuffed Smokey Bear. Traditionally, Soyuz crews fly with a small toy hanging from the top of the crew compartment that acts as a gravity indicator: when the toy floats, the crew's in orbit. (Once it was an Angry Bird!)

If you missed it (or if you didn't and just want to see it again), NASA's posted the video of the launch.

The Soyuz will reach the International Space Station and dock on Wednesday at 12:38 am EDT.

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Filed under: In Space • People in Orbit
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Alex

    It is very low to make fun of the program which you (Americans) are continuously using.. kind of ungrateful.. be consistent..

    In every TV series there are negative rhetorics about Russians.. get over it, the cold war is over.. stop being afraid and abandon your negativity..

    July 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  2. guest

    Hey, it's our new PRIVITIZED space program in action. The Russians are more than willing to take our cash (most of it Taxpayers) to send Americans into space. But wiht the worries of a monopoly we better see if some one can come up with a lower bid. Hey China?

    May 17, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  3. Larry Lane

    Fly safe our friends (USA and Russia).

    May 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  4. erich2112x

    Imagine if they got there and it was gone.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Terra

      You make a good point sometimes I pdeonr if it's better to have humans constantly in space doing arguably non-dramatic (non-inspirational?) things vs. having no humans in space at all for some time (say, a few decades). The former might not be the most exciting but we are establishing ourselves as a space-bound species, continuing to live/work in that environment. If we stop doing that for a generation, wouldn't a future generation simply try to get back to space, do even less, and then call it success?Similar to dave's comment above having people stationed at a research outpost, which happens to be in space, is really cool. In a way, it's awesome that it's ordinary .Now, whether or not that's worth the $$$ and our return with respect to science the arguments against it are compelling. At the very least, this budgeting stuff gets people talking about it.

      August 3, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  5. Odin

    Every president and congress since Raygun are to blame for the sorry state of our space program–we are on on the same level as the other third world countries

    May 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • sumday

      when they find oil in space then we will advance our program, but right now there is no profit in space and that is why this capitalist country are not interested in spending money for the sake of exploration.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • guest

        So true....

        May 17, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  6. Josh

    "Traditionally, Soyuz crews fly with a small toy hanging from the top of the crew compartment that acts as a gravity indicator"

    Instead, Americans use a $1.7T gravity detector system.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Farscape

      Thank you auto correct.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Jose

      I think the only way we are going to have a meaningful fuurte in space (ie colonizing, interstellar travel etc) is in machines, leaving these bodies behind which may be how we go forward on this planet eventually too. Quantum computing may add enough complexity for machine intelligence to become self aware etc and become the sentient beings that are vastly more suitable for travel off-planet. I'm not thinking this century, but eventually, sure. It'll take a while for us to decide that us can include machine intelligence AND wetware based intelligence. But still interstellar travel even interplanetary travel, can be a real pain in the ass when you can't turn yourself off during the trip.(or just drop the clock cycle)

      August 3, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  7. magneticink

    I thought the launch site was in Derka-Derkastan.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  8. FauxNews

    I wish they would stop calling them astronauts, they are all cosmonauts now.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      Need not worry. The Italians call them " Specimens".

      May 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    So when do we get to "visit" the space station that WE built again?

    May 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Al

      Yeah!!! Same with all the fighter jets, nuclear submarines and strategic bombers armed with nuclear bombs that we payed for!

      May 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  10. well

    I thought Howard Wolowitz was supposed to be on this flight

    May 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • generaj

      And yet they are make fun of Russian space tech on the Big Bang Theory... You know, Russian didn't ask you to board their "crappy" rocket. You paid to ride that.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • Farscape

        Russian spec tech deserves to made fun of. America’s DECICION to ride with the Russian is an economical one. Where is Russia’s space shuttle?

        May 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
      • EricLr

        Russia abandoned their space shuttle program when they realized it was dangerous and a money sink.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • cja

        DOn't make fun of the Russian maned space program. They have a very good record and right now they are the only country with a manned program of any kind. The Russians were smart to find a way to keep the cost at a level where they can afford to continue with launches. The Americans never learn that lesson and end up canceling project after project when the costs start to run away.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • vs

      hahahaha...good one

      May 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Mike

      He is, he was out getting some Fruit Loops!

      May 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • well

        haha yes!

        May 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  11. Sorkh Razil

    Shameful that the U.S. has no means to send our own astronauts to space and instead must rely on the Russians! All thanks to The Anointed One!

    May 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Claxton

      Not his fault completely...Young Man Bush made the decision to quit flying shuttle, and even if Constellation had been continued, we'd still be another three years out, at least, from putting men into space with our own rockets and capsules.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Coflyboy

      Dunno that Obama had anything to do with it, since the decision to stop launching the Space Shuttle was made during Bush's reign.
      get your facts before opening your pie-hole, monkeybrain.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      "The Anointed One" = Christ

      Didn't know Jesus was cutting budgets and cancelling programs.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Chris Goldfinger

      So, why would you call George Bush "The annointed one"? I'm confused.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Brandt

    And so a new era begins. One where NASA is irrelevant, the US collapses and the other nations of the world take over.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • NeoSHNIK

      Finally!! The world will stop getting exploited and bombed by us.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • Anonymous

        If you traveled around the world, I think you would find that a great many more people have been killed by others than those in the United States.

        May 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • guest

        more countries have been attacked by islamist than by US.

        May 17, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Coflyboy

      We knew that was gonna happen a long time ago. All empires fall, as witnessed by the Greeks, Romans, British, Germans, etc.... and now the Untied States. Bush made sure this process was expedited.
      Now would be the time to start learning Chinese.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm |


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