‘David is an astronaut now’: Canadian blasts off on mission to International Space Station

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‘David is an astronaut now’: Canadian blasts off on mission to International Space Station

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is on his way to the International Space Station.

Together with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and U.S. astronaut Anne McClain, he blasted into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket at 6:31 a.m. (ET) from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

Among those on hand for the event were Dr. Saint-Jacques’s family and Governor-General Julie Payette.

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“David is an astronaut now – he’s in orbit,” said former Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk as a packed auditorium erupted in applause at Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Longueuil, near Montreal, where a few hundred were gathered to view the launch remotely.

The flight marks the first trip to space for a CSA astronaut since Chris Hadfield last blasted off from the same location six years ago. It is also a crucial return to flight for Soyuz after a malfunction forced a midair abort during a launch in October.

Dr. Saint-Jacques and his crewmates are now into a four-orbit trip around the planet that is designed to put them in a position to dock with the space station about 12:35 p.m. Monday, followed by a hatch opening two hours later.

Watch: If you missed the launch, here’s a recap of the Soyuz rocket’s takeoff from Kazakhstan on Monday morning.

How a shuttle launches: A visual guide

THE LAUNCH SITE

RUSSIA

KAZAKHSTAN

Baikonur Cosmodrome

UZBEKISTAN

KYRGYZSTAN

650

TURKMENISTAN

KM

CHINA

AFGHANISTAN

IRAN

PAKISTAN

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

RUSSIA

KAZAKHSTAN

Baikonur Cosmodrome

UZBEKISTAN

KYRGYZSTAN

650

TURKMENISTAN

KM

CHINA

AFGHANISTAN

IRAN

PAKISTAN

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

RUSSIA

KAZAKHSTAN

Baikonur Cosmodrome

UZBEKISTAN

KYRGYZSTAN

TURKMENISTAN

650

TAJIKISTAN

KM

CHINA

AFGHANISTAN

IRAN

PAKISTAN

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

THE LAUNCH

How to park a Soyuz

The International Space Station orbits about 400 kilometres above the Earth (green). To get to the station the Soyuz capsule first enters an insertion orbit (blue) at an altitude of 220 km. A lower orbit means it is moving faster than the station and can begin to catch up.

Soyuz

ISS

Next, the Soyuz climbs up to a higher orbit (red), about 100 kilometres lower than the station’s, by using a fuel efficient “Hohmann transfer” manoeuvre that requires two engine burns, one at the beginning and one at the end of the manoeuvre.

Once final calculations have been made,

the Soyuz uses a three-burn “bi-elliptic transfer” manoeuvre to match its trajectory with that

of the space station. During final approach,

the Soyuz docks to the station automatically with astronauts ready to take over if there

is a problem.

Note: Graphic is purely schematic.

Drawings are not to scale.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: ESA.INT

The International Space Station orbits about 400 kilometres above the Earth (green). To get to the station the Soyuz capsule first enters an insertion orbit (blue) at an altitude of 220 km. A lower orbit means it is moving faster than the station and can begin to catch up.

Soyuz

ISS

Next, the Soyuz climbs up to a higher orbit (red), about 100 kilometres lower than the station’s, by using a fuel efficient “Hohmann transfer” manoeuvre that requires two engine burns, one at the beginning and one at the end of the manoeuvre.

Once final calculations have been made, the Soyuz uses

a three-burn “bi-elliptic transfer” manoeuvre to match its trajectory with that of the space station. During final approach, the Soyuz docks to the station automatically with astronauts ready to take over if there is a problem.

Note: Graphic is purely schematic.

Drawings are not to scale.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: ESA.INT

The International Space Station orbits about 400 kilometres above the Earth (green). To get to the station the Soyuz capsule first enters an insertion orbit (blue) at an altitude of 220 km. A lower orbit means it is moving faster than the station and can begin to catch up.

Next, the Soyuz climbs up

to a higher orbit (red), about 100 kilometres lower than the station’s, by using a fuel efficient “Hohmann

transfer” manoeuvre that requires two engine burns, one at the beginning and one at the end of the

manoeuvre.

Once final calculations have been made, the Soyuz uses a three-burn “bi-elliptic transfer” manoeuvre to match its trajectory with that of the space station. During final approach, the Soyuz docks to the station automatically with

astronauts ready to take over if there is a problem.

Soyuz

ISS

Note: Graphic is purely schematic. Drawings are not to scale.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL; SOURCE: ESA.INT

THE INTERNATIONAL

SPACE STATION

After braking to slow down

and match the speed of the ISS,

the Soyuz connects to one

of the station’s Earth-facing

docking ports.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

THE INTERNATIONAL

SPACE STATION

After braking to slow down

and match the speed of the ISS,

the Soyuz connects to one of the

station’s Earth-facing docking ports.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

THE INTERNATIONAL

SPACE STATION

After braking to slow down

and match the speed of the ISS,

the Soyuz connects to one of the

station’s Earth-facing docking ports.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

What happens next?

Space exploration as we know it is about to change dramatically. Since the end of the U.S. shuttle program in 2011, Russia’s Soyuz modules have been astronauts’ only route to the ISS. But SpaceX and Boeing are each aiming to send their first manned test flights to the station next year, further paving the way for privately run spaceflight and space research. The ISS’s partners are also planning to build a new outpost around the moon, a staging ground for missions deeper into space than robot probes or humans have ever gone before. Learn more about Dr. Saint-Jacques’s part in the new era of space exploration in our multimedia feature about his background, training and the kind of science he’ll be working on at the space station.

Watch: Science reporter Ivan Semeniuk outlines the important choice Canada needs to make to participate in the Lunar Gateway or be shut out by other international partners.

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