A new trio of astronauts launched in a trip to reach the International Space Station, as a part of a new Soyuz missions. The team is composed of Kate Rubins from NASA, Takuya Onishi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Anatoly Ivanishin from Roscosmos.
The launch will take place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the same place that hosted the launch of Yuri Gagarin into space.
The vehicle will need almost three days to reach the International Space Station, which is situated in the low Earth orbit at a maximum altitude of 258 miles away from the surface. The prolonged duration of the flight is due to test upgrades that need to be coordinated with ground controllers.
Traditions before the Launch
Two weeks before the event, the primary and the backup crew for the ISS mission leave on a private flight from the Star City cosmonaut training compound until Baikonur, in Kazakhstan. The last days before the trip are spent training and performing spacecraft tests.
Another part of the routine involves planting trees and enjoying spare time in the Cosmonaut Hotel.
The Soyuz MS Series
The former Soyuz mission had a small adventure on its way up, and the commander Yuri Malenchenko had to pilot the spaceship to the International Space Station manually.
Since then, the astronauts had changed their training and their flight procedures in order to accommodate any unpredictable risks. Even the spacecraft was modified, as the launch involves a new Soyuz MS spacecraft.
The Soyuz MS series are inaugurated after a misfortunate event with a Progress MS spacecraft, which during a test flight undocked from the ISS and had to be manually brought back manually to the docking port.
However, the new Soyuz series is supposed to have upgraded and redundant thrusters, an additional micrometeoroid debris shielding, solar cells to increase power capacity, an ungraded rendezvous antenna system, and an improved navigation system.
The New ISS Crew
The crew’s arrival will be welcomed by Jeff Williams, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, who will be returning to Earth in September. The new team is scheduled to remain aboard for almost four months.
Kate Rubins has a Stanford Ph.D. in cancer biology. Before starting the astronaut career, she studied disease attacks and spread inside the body. While on the International Space Station, Rubins will conduct research on human microbiome and she will also perform DNA sequences.
Takuya Onishi is also at his first space travel. The Japanese enrolled in the astronaut training in 2009 and since then he had one mission on the Aquarium underwater laboratory.
As for Anatoly Ivanishin, this would be his second trip into space, having already spent 165 days in cosmos.
Image Source: Wikipedia