Soyuz spacecraft redocks to space station

Jan. 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM
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KOROLEV, Russia, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Russian cosmonauts docked a Soyuz spacecraft to a new location on the International Space Station Thursday after an orbital trip, officials said.

Russian Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev and American space station Cmdr. Jeff Williams moved the spacecraft to a new docking point to free up a key service module to receive the next unmanned Progress resupply cargo freighter Feb. 3, officials said.

The Soyuz was undocked from the space station's Zvezda service module and moved about 100 feet to the Poisk module in a complex redocking 20 minutes later.

"We have a contact," Suraev said at the moment of docking.

Suraev performed the manual operation and Williams controlled the spaceship's on-board systems during the maneuver, the Russian government news agency ITAR-Tass reported.

The docking to Poisk -- an egg-shaped module to be used as an airlock for future spacewalks -- marked the first use of that module, Russian Federal Space Agency and NASA officials said.

The $100 billion space station project -- a research facility involving 16 nations -- has been under construction 220 miles above the Earth for more than a decade. It is the largest artificial satellite orbiting the earth, sometimes visible from the ground with the naked eye.

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