Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Video Ridealong with a Soyuz Capsule Docking with the Space Station

By Phil Plait

This is very cool: high-resolution video taken from the Soyuz capsule that brought astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka to the International Space Station in March 2015:

That opening shot is very 2001! The Earth dominates the frame, with the ISS hanging nearby. I love the changing angle, which again reminds me of the PanAm Moon shuttle scene from 2001.  The rapidly rotating apparatus on the Soyuz is an antenna; the time-lapse animation makes I look a little frantic.

I suggest watching the movie at 2X speed, since it plays out slowly over a half hour. Here are some highlights I enjoyed:

06:00: The changing angles and lighting at sunset are mesmerizing.

08:00: After some station-keeping, the Soyuz begins its approach to ISS (at 08:30 or so the antenna slows and stops its spin, too).

12:55: The antenna assembly moves aside to allow docking.

17:00: The approach to the docking ring, with contact at 17:40.

Amazing. Kelly and Kornienko have already spent the first two months of their year-long stay on ISS. After some problems with Soyuz launches, the return flight of Samantha Cristoforetti, Terry Virts, and Anton Shkaplerov has been delayed until June 11. I imagine that must give them mixed feelings; I’m sure they miss friends and family, but also relished the ability to stay in space a little longer. 

Read more about: