http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/russian-soyuz-rocket-takes-nasa-astronaut-to-iss-one-last-time/article/579523

Russian Soyuz rocket takes NASA astronaut to ISS one last time

Posted Oct 14, 2020 by Karen Graham
Today's launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket, carrying two cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut to the International Space Station marks the end of an era. It was the last time NASA paid for one of its astronauts to fly with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhi...
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov launches at 1:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin
The history of spaceflight - from the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 satellite on October 4, 1957, has been measured in milestones. That first satellite was small in comparison to today's behemoths, about the size of a beach ball (58 cm. or 22.8 inches in diameter). It weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit Earth on its elliptical path.
We have witnessed many milestones in our endeavor to explore the universe around us, including the first human in space, Russian, Yuri Gargarin, on April 12, 1961, and the first human to set foot on the lunar surface, NASA astronaut, Neil Armstrong, on July 20, 1969,
Buzz Aldrin was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11. On July 20  1969  he was the second human being...
Buzz Aldrin was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11. On July 20, 1969, he was the second human being to set foot on the Moon, following mission commander Neil Armstrong.
© NASA
However, the launch of Soyuz MS-17 on Wednesday was a different kind of milestone: the end of an era, notes NBC News.
This trip to the International Space Station was the last time NASA had to pay for an American astronaut to fly with the Russian Space Agency on a Soyuz rocket. Next year, for the first time since the start of the ISS program 20 years ago, Russia will fly all-Russian crews on Soyuz.
The International Space Station crew of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryz...
The International Space Station crew of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov
Handout, Russian Space Agency Roscosmos/AFP
Cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, along with NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins are the Expedition 64 crew members. Rubins and Ryzhikov are making their second flight into space and for Kud-Sverchkov, this is his first time in space.
Yuri, a little cosmonaut knitted by Kud-Sverchkov's wife Olga is also along for the ride. Yuri's job is to act as a zero-gravity indicator. Once he starts floating around the interior of the capsule, the crew will know they have reached space. Each crew gets to pick their own indicator, according to NASA.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is seen as she has her Russian Sokol suit pressure checked as she and fel...
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is seen as she has her Russian Sokol suit pressure checked as she and fellow crewmates Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos prepare for their Soyuz launch to the International Space Station Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio launched at 1:45 a.m. EDT to begin a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin
At 1:45 a.m. EDT, the Soyuz rocket blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia’s sprawling and remote space launch facility in Kazakhstan, to the International Space Station. The capsule carrying the trio of space travelers docked to the station’s Rassvet module at 4:48 a.m. EDT, after a two-orbit, three-hour flight.
Speaking of milestones in the history of spaceflight, according to Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, an "ultrafast" rendezvous system helped deliver the crew to the station after just two orbits around the Earth "for the first time in history."
Notice the long solar arrays on the ISS. Electricity is rerouted to all parts of the station through...
Notice the long solar arrays on the ISS. Electricity is rerouted to all parts of the station through four switches known as Main Bus Switching Units (MBSUs). Each array has two MBSUs.
NASA, Canadian Space Agency, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA,
A Space Milestone coming up
On November 1, the world will celebrate the 20th anniversary of a continuous human presence on the space station. The date coincides with the start of Rubin's second mission, and she is looking forward to it.
"It's so exciting -- we're at this wonderful time in space station history of operations for 20 years," she said. "Inside of this incredibly capable orbiting laboratory, we can do all kinds of experiments, including physics, looking at particles and quantum mechanics, biology experiments, printing organs with tissue-like structures and all the way to human physiology."