BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan – Two astronauts and a cosmonaut headed to the International Space Station aboard an upgraded Soyuz MS spacecraft that launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:36 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
They will spend approximately four months on the ISS and are scheduled to return in October. Their ISS mission will be full of science experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science.
Their journey to the ISS will take approximately two days. Docking with the ISS’ Rassvet module is scheduled for 12:12 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 9.
After nearly three hours of docking, they will be greeted by Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, as well as Russian cosmonauts Oled Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.
The launch was originally scheduled for June 24 but was delayed due to spacecraft software glitches.
The crew and backup crew consisting of NASA’s Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, and Thomas Pesquet of ESA arrived in Baikonur on June 24 to finish their training.
The launch is the second crewed mission to the ISS this year and the 130th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft overall. Two more Soyuz MS missions are planned to be conducted before the end of 2016 with the next launch scheduled for September 23.