Next crew set to launch toward International Space Station

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 Kazakhstan at 5:17 p.m. EDT. 

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.

NASA launch ISS

Expedition 53 crew members: Joe Acaba of NASA, Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA pose for a photograph for the press outside the Soyuz simulator ahead of their Soyuz qualification exams, Aug. 31, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. (Bill Ingalls/NASA)

The ISS is the only permanently occupied  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 cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, returned from the ISS with a parachute touchdown in Kazakhstan. Whitson, 57, broke the U.S. record for cumulative time in space.  

The new ISS crew will stay at for five months. They’ll continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology and biotechnologym as well as physical and Earth sciences.

You can watch the launch live here beginning at 4:45 p.m.

Article source: