Shortly after sunrise at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, astronauts Katie Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Tayuka Onishi blasted off to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket. The new crew, collectively called Expedition 48, are expected to arrival at the orbital outpost on Saturday, July 9 at 00:12 EDT following two days in orbit.
At 07:36 in the morning in Kazakhstan the Soyuz rocket lifted from the launchpad and headed skywards. The flight went off without a hitch, with the Soyuz spacecraft delivered to a stable orbit shortly after liftoff. The flight marked the first launch of the MS series of the Soyuz capsule, bringing new capabilities to the communication and navigation subsystems of the spacecraft, increasing the safety of the astronauts aboard and ensuring easier access to space. The crew will now spend two days in orbit as the spacecraft chases the ISS. This is longer than the usual six hours since Roscosmos scientists and engineers back on Earth wish to spend an extended period testing the Soyuz’s new systems introduced in the MS series.
The trio will stay in space for roughly four months, working on scientific research and essential station servicing throughout their stay above Earth. The crew will help install the station’s first international docking adapter set to be launched in the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft in July. The spacecraft will also carry various new scientific experiments which the crew will help carry out. These investigations will cover bone loss, DNA sequencing in space, temperature regulation in spacecraft, and much, much more. Additionally, the crew will also help unload Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft and the Russian Progress resupply vehicle during their time aboard the Station.
The next launch to the ISS is the aforementioned SpaceX CRS-9 resupply mission. The Falcon 9 is set to liftoff on July 18 and of course will be covered live at @CosmosRevealed!