A new crew is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) today.
NASA flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba and Russian Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin are scheduled to blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in KazakhstanÂ at 5:17 p.m. EDT.Â
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After the launch, the Soyuz spacecraft will head to the International Space Station on a six-hour fast-track, scheduled to dock at 10:57 p.m.
The ISS is the only permanently occupied Â laboratory in space. It orbits about 400 kilometres above the earth.
The hatches will open around 12:40 a.m. ET on Sept. 13, where the current crew, composed of NASA commander Randy Bresnik, and flight engineers Sergey Ryasanskiy from Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency, will greet them.
On Sept. 2, two NASA astronauts, Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer, as well as Russian cosmonautÂ Fyodor Yurchikhin, returned from the ISSÂ with a parachute touchdown inÂ Kazakhstan. Whitson, 57,Â broke the U.S.Â record for cumulative time in space.Â Â
The new ISS crew will stay at for five months. They’ll continue work on hundreds of experiments in biologyÂ and biotechnologym as well asÂ physicalÂ and Earth sciences.
You can watch the launch live here beginning at 4:45Â p.m.