Colorado astronaut will have to wait two days before capsule docks with space station

A problem with thrusters delayed the docking of the Russian Soyuz capsule with the International Space Station.

The crew is now expected to rendezvous at 7:58 pm EST on March 27, according to NASA.

Until recently, the docking was a two-day procedure, however, new techniques allowed for it occur as quickly as six hours.   It's still not clear was caused the malfunction.

Metropolitan State University of Denver assistant professor Tanya Gatlin was a former space shuttle instructor at NASA in Houston.   She is confident the crew will dock safely, carrying her friend, incoming space station commander Steve Swanson.

"They have the backup plans, they have the contingency plans.  They have several levels of redundancy," said Gatlin.

"It's like starting a roller coaster ride.  You know that feeling you get to the very top, 'click click?' And you're ready to head over and everybody goes, 'ah!' That's what you get at launch," said Swanson in a recent interview with 7NEWS at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan.

LINK: Photos of preparation and launch

Swanson, who grew up in Steamboat Springs and graduated from the University of Colorado, has visited the station twice before. Flying aboard NASA's space shuttles before they were retired, he helped to construct the ISS.

"You're holding on to a handrail and you look down and 250 miles below you is earth," he said, drawing on the experience of his previous spacewalks outside the ISS.

This time, he will spend six months floating inside the station. When the current crew departs, he will  graduate to the role of commander of the station.

"Each time I was up there with my shuttle flights, it was only two weeks long and I just wanted to stay," Swanson told 7NEWS.

The Soyuz was originally scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station after a flight of about six hours, but NASA reported that a rendezvous burn did not occur as planned. As a result, the crew will need to rendezvous over the course of two days.

NASA pointed out the Soyuz carries plenty of supplies for the crew during this delay.

LINK: More of 7NEWS' profile of Astronaut Steve Swanson.

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