When a Russian Soyuz spaceship pulled up to the International Space Station last week, it had a distinctly off-kilter look due to a stuck solar wing.
While a NASA video of the Soyuz's arrival on Sept. 25 only showed the asymmetrical spacecraft from afar, this amazing photo from American astronaut Reid Wiseman gives a crystal clear view of what a one-winged Russian spaceship looks like up close.
Wiseman snapped the photo from inside the International Space Station as he watched the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft dock itself flawlessly at the orbiting lab. The Soyuz launched three new crewmembers to the space station to join the outpost's current Expedition 41 crew. But shortly after reaching orbit, one of the Soyuz's two solar arrays failed to deploy.
"Awesome view of the Soyuz with only one array deployed," Wiseman wrote in a Twitter post last Saturday (Sept. 27). "Flown by the best!"
Russian cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev was in command of the Soyuz during its six-hour trip to the space station. NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and cosmonaut Elena Serova accompanied Samokutyaev on the flight.
The Soyuz crew reported no problems at all with the flight despite the stuck solar array. On Earth, Russian flight engineers were concerned the problem could cause overheating on the spacecraft, but the crew reported that everything was fine inside the capsule throughout the flight.
Wiseman and his Expedition 41 crewmates Maxim Suarev of Russia and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency are in the middle of a months-long voyage to the International Space Station. They are due to return to Earth in November.
Samokutyaev, Wilmore and Serova, meanwhile, are just beginning their own six-month spaceflight. They will stay aboard as the station's core Expedition 42 crew and return home in March 2015.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.