Two radio amateurs — European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, KG5GCZ, and Soyuz commander and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, RU3DIS — plus cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov have headed into space bound for the International Space Station. They launched on September 2 from Baikonur cosmodrome in Aimbetov’s homeland of Kazakhstan. For Mogensen and Aimbetov — who replaced “space tourist” and British singer Sarah Brightman on the Soyuz flight — the launch marks the beginning of a 10-day ESA “iriss” technology experiment mission. The space travelers now must orbit Earth 36 times before they catch up with the ISS. The Soyuz will dock on September 4. Mogensen is the first Danish astronaut to go into space. Volkov is a space veteran. This is also the first spaceflight for Aimbetov, the only Kazakstani cosmonaut.
Among other projects, Mogensen is scheduled to be involved with the deployment from the ISS of two ESA CubeSats, both carrying Amateur Radio payloads, which originated in Denmark. A Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II transport vehicle delivered GOMX-3 and AAUSAT-5 to the ISS on August 19.
Just 8 days after they arrive onboard the ISS, Mogensen and Aimbetov return to Earth in another Soyuz vehicle under the command of cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, RN3DT, who is returning to Earth after 6 months aboard the ISS. Padalka hold the record for the most time in space.