Russian crew blasts off to International Space Station

James Marshall
March 15, 2019

USA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, left, Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), pose near a bus prior to the launch of the Soyuz FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

Expedition 59 has NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin joining NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Roscosmos station commander Oleg Kononenko and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques. They were originally scheduled to launch in October, but had to abort their mission after their Soyuz rocket had a booster separation malfunction.

An Orthodox priest conducts a blessing service in front of the Soyuz FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Delayed Entrance This launch will bring the space station back to full capacity, at six team members, and NASA has expressed excitement about the work that can be done with a full crew. Both women, as well as Saint-Jacques and Hague, will also be making their personal first space walks during the expedition.

In the meantime, two spacewalks are scheduled in the coming weeks: the first on March 22 with Anne McClain and Nick Hague. After a few orbits around Earth, the Soyuz capsule will dock with the ISS at 9:07 p.m. ET.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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