Monday, November 14, 2011

U.S. astronaut aboard Soyuz

U.S. astronaut Dan Burbank has become the first American to fly to the International Space Station since the retirement of space shuttle fleet. Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin launched Sunday (Monday Kazakhstan time) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They'll dock with the ISS Tuesday. NASA is paying the Russian Federal Space Agency $1.5 billion to fly U.S. and partner nation astronauts while waiting for U.S. commercial companies to begin round-trip supply missions, likely no earlier than 2016. (Sources: Florida Today, NASA, 11/13/11) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests NASA and commercial rocket engines.