Inside Soyuz

Russian Cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev is safely aboard the International Space Station now, but it took him two days to get there in the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft he piloted from liftoff on Dec. 15 to docking.

The first-time space traveler is blogging in Russian about his experience. But he has also sent down some photos that need no translation, including some rare views inside the Soyuz orbital module during transit. This is Kondratyev in the pilot’s seat of the launch and reentry module, wedged between crewmates Catherine Coleman of NASA and Paulo Nespoli of the European Space Agency.

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Once in orbit, the crew got this view of Earth.

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After ascent and checkout, Kondratyev and his crewmates moved into the orbital module for the ride to the space station.

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Soyuz crew members must endure spartan conditions en route to the ISS, including eating their rations straight from the can. Kondratyev joins Coleman for a meal.

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Although spacious compared to the reentry module, working conditions in the orbital module are cramped nonetheless. Here Kondratyev (left) and Nespoli prepare the module for transit.

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Coleman give her Expedition 26 crewmates on the space station a heads-up.

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Soyuz sleeping quarters are simple — a zip-up bag and pillow. After the space shuttle fleet retires in 2011, all ISS crew members will travel to the station in the Soyuz until alternate vehicles are developed.

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URL: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/space/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3a94f791d5-7c50-4ee8-bb12-11013fb54a17

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