Crew Moves Station Soyuz Capsule to New Docking Port
It was a short trip, considering they were moving at about five miles a second.
Image to right: The Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft as it looked moments before separation from the Station.
Space Station crewmembers, Soyuz Commander Salizhan Sharipov and Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao, flew their Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft from the Pirs Docking Compartment to a docking port about 45 feet away on the Zarya module. The move early Monday was made to prepare for two spacewalks from Pirs early next year.
Sharipov and Chiao undocked their Soyuz from Pirs at 4:29 a.m. EST. After backing about 100 feet from the Station, they flew the Soyuz forward about 45 feet to a point below the nadir docking port of Zarya.
Image to left: The spacecraft a few seconds after physical separation from the Pirs Docking Compartment.
They rotated the Soyuz to align it with the new docking port, then slowly maneuvered it toward Zarya. They docked the Soyuz at 4:53 a.m.
During the short relocation, the Station had gone almost a third of the way around the Earth at its orbital velocity of 17,500 mph.
In preparation for the Soyuz relocation, Chiao and Sharipov had configured the Station to operate without a crew, in the unlikely event that they were unable to redock the Soyuz.