The next three crew members bound for the International Space Station are set to launch to the orbital outpost Wednesday, Sept. 2.
NASA Television launch coverage will begin at 11:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:37 a.m. Wednesday (10:37 a.m. Baikonur time). Mogensen and Aimbetov are short duration crew members while Volkov will spend six months on the orbital complex.
The trio will travel in a Soyuz spacecraft, which will rendezvous with the space station and dock two days later to the Poisk module at 3:42 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m.
The hatches between the Soyuz and station will be opened at about 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 4, at which time the newly arrived crew members will be greeted by Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. NASA TV coverage of the hatch opening will begin at 5:45 a.m.
This will be the first time nine crew members are aboard the station simultaneously since November 2013. Padalka, Mogensen and Aimbetov will return to Earth on Saturday, Sept. 12, leaving Kelly in command of Expedition 45. The change of command ceremony in which Padalka will hand over command of the space station to Kelly will be broadcast on NASA TV on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 2:40 p.m.
Kelly and Kornienko will return in March 2016 after spending a year on the station collecting valuable biomedical data that will improve our understanding of the effects of long duration space travel and aid in NASA’s journey to Mars.
Together, the Expedition 45 crew members will continue the several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science currently underway and scheduled to take place aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.
For the full schedule of prelaunch, launch and docking coverage, click here.
For more information about the International Space Station, click here.
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