US-Russian team lands at International Space Station, 60 years after Yuri Gagarin’s feat
Share article:
Share article:

US-Russian team lands at International Space Station, 60 years after Yuri Gagarin’s feat

© Belga

The ‘Gagarin’ spaceship, carrying two Russian cosmonauts and one from the United States, landed on Friday at the International Space Station (ISS) on a mission honouring the 60th anniversary of the sending of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.

“NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station Friday, bringing its number of residents to 10 for the coming week,” NASA announced in a press release.

Oleg Novitski and Piotr Doubrov, of the Russian agency Roscosmos, and NASA’s Vande Hei will spend six months at the ISS. The three men joined NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchov, who have been at the station since October, and the four-member crew of SpaceX Dragon Resilience, who entered the station in November, NASA reported.

Their Soyuz MS-18 spaceship, named after the legendary Soviet cosmonaut, took off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan on Friday, a few days ahead of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the flight on 12 April 1961 by Gagarin, whose profile was painted in blue at the top of the launcher.

Related News


Each year, the anniversary of Gagarin’s flight is celebrated with devotion and immense pride throughout Russia, where flowers are laid at the foot of the many monuments in his honour. His mission, which lasted 108 minutes, was a huge victory for the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in its space race against the United States, and upon returning to Earth, it was used heavily by the Soviet propaganda machine until his death in a plane accident in 1968.

The successive celebrations of Gagarin’s mission fail, however, to mask the difficulties Russia’s space sector has been experiencing. While it has huge experience and reliable equipment, such as the legendary Soyuz vessels dating back to the Soviet era, Russia has had a hard time innovating. Recent missions have been dogged by technical mishaps, and the sector has had problems with financing and corruption.

Last year, it also lost its monopoly on flights to the ISS, bowing to competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, a new reality that could mean huge financial losses for Roscosmos, which had been charging NASA millions of dollars for each slot on flights to the ISS.

The next SpaceX mission to the space station will take off on 22 April from Florida, with Frenchman Thomas Pesquet on board.

The tensions between Russia and the United States have also weakened space cooperation, one of the few areas in which mutual assistance between the two geopolitical enemies has survived.

The ISS project, launched in 2000, should end before 2030, and there is thus far no indication that it will be succeeded by a major project benefitting from an equivalent level of international cooperation.

In the meantime, the space teams continue to be the best promotors of the need for mutual support in order to move forward.

Russia and the United States owed their success in the field in part to the competition between them at the start of manned space travel, but later understood that they could achieve more if they worked together, Vande Hei said on Thursday, adding that he hoped this could continue.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

More politicians than ordinary citizens at the Conference on the Future of Europe
The second Plenary of the Conference took place on Saturday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and discussed the contributions from the ...
Belgium’s Consultative Committee to meet on Tuesday
The next meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Tuesday at 4:30 PM, according to local media ...
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are world’s biggest plastic polluters
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Unilever were found to be the world's biggest polluters of plastic in a report published by Branded on Monday. Over 11,000 ...
Four men charged with illegally buying thousands of live ducks to hunt on private land
Four Belgian men will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the purchase of thousands of ducks, which were then released into a private ...
More wolf attacks: 15 deer killed at family resort over the weekend
Fifteen deer were killed by wolves in the Belgian province of Limburg this weekend, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The deer were ...
Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Person hit by train in Brussels
A person was hit by a train in the tunnel between Brussels North and Brussels Central at around 10:20 AM on Monday, railway network manager Infrabel ...