Veteran Crew Launches to the Space Station Today

James Marshall
March 22, 2018

This afternoon, a new crew of three astronauts will embark on a flight to the International Space Station, bringing the total number of crew on the orbiting lab to its standard size of six.

A Soyuz rocket carrying two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut is all set to blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) on 21 March.

The arrival of Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev will restore the station's crew complement to six. The pair is being joined by Russian Oleg Artemyev on a Russian manufactured Soyuz spacecraft.

Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov, a Russian, is now leading the ISS. There, they'll be greeted by the three crew members already on board the ISS: NASA's Scott Tingle, Norishige Kanai from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who is the current station commander.

Shkaplerov, Tingle and Kanai are scheduled to remain aboard the station until June 2018, while Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev are slated to return to Earth in August. The crew members will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development. Feustel has two space shuttle flights under his belt, including STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope fix mission, in 2009.

The rocket put their Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft in a designated orbit en route to the station.

All three crewmates are veteran space-flyers and are due to arrive at their new home Friday when they dock to the Poisk module at 3:41 p.m. NASA TV will broadcast all the launch and docking activities including the hatch opening and crew greeting ceremony live.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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