Jul 3, 2009

First Local Flight - in space!?

This story is interesting in that it may be the first ever "local hop" flown in a spacecraft.  Earth-bound pilots are familiar with the concept of heading out for a local sight-seeing flight just for the fun of it.  Sometimes we'll stop at a local restaurant for a cup of coffee or a "hundred dollar hamburger."  Or we'll just motor around the local area on a fine evening to enjoy the experience of flight, then wander back home and tie down for the night.

This sounds like the space equivalent.  Albeit there was a purpose - to move the Soyuz lifeboat to another dock.  But I can imagine the conversations in the space station leading up to the "flight."

"So, I'm going for a short trip to the other side of the station.  Anyone want to come along for the ride?"


Anonymous said...

This has been done on almost every expedition, to optimise the use of the docking ports on the Russian segment.

Grant said...

Cool! I wonder how they decide who gets to ride in the extra seat(s) - presuming it doesn't take three cosmonauts to maneuver this thing around the corner...

Another point of interest. I notice there are six people currently aboard the space station. The Soyuz holds three. They refer to it sometimes as a "lifeboat." ... hmmm... Do they draw straws each morning to see who gets to use it in case it's suddenly needed?