Crew Hops 6-Hour Flight— to International Space Station
Trip usually takes 2 days
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 29, 2013 6:16 AM CDT
Russian Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin, top, NASA Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy, and Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov, bottom, wave farewell.   (AP PHOTO/NASA, Carla Cioffi)

(Newser) – Typically, a voyage to the International Space Station is a two-day affair. Though it's just 250 miles from the Earth, it's constantly moving, complicating the trip. But a team of three astronauts—two Russian, one from NASA—arrived at 10:28pm last night after just a five-hour, 45-minute journey, CNN reports. Normally, a spacecraft headed to the ISS circles the Earth 16 times during the trip; in the latest excursion, the Soyuz spacecraft orbited the planet just four times, thanks in part to equipment and computer software improvements.

"We're trying to cut that amount of time that they had to be in those close quarters," says a NASA rep. Still, officials may ultimately decide the longer trip is better because it gives astronauts more time to get acclimated to space. For the astronauts, many of the flight tasks are the same—they just have to be done more quickly, a NASA official says in a video. The crew will spend some six months at the ISS.

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Mar 29, 2013 9:22 AM CDT
"The crew will spend some six months at the ISS." So what is the hurry?
Mar 29, 2013 7:27 AM CDT
It's a good teaming and actually makes perfect sense. It's a classic combination of what the Russians have always been good at with what we've always been good at.
Mar 29, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Me too. But I think our "space race" was a huge waste of money since all of the supposed experiments didn't even cure cancer. We don't have a space-based missile defense shield, Either do the Russians. Besides, we don't need to build a space station and send people there to test one. We could have used those Billions and Billions of dollars to improve our infrastructure instead. Now Obummer and the Democrats are embarking on one of the highest tax burdens in history. The people who actually pay taxes will be hammered to provide for those who don't. All because of another Democrat - Kennedy.