A Russian Soyuz spacecraft will launch an American astronaut and two cosmonauts to the Worldwide Area Station early Friday (April 9) — and you may watch it stay on-line.
The Soyuz capsule carrying NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov is scheduled to launch atop a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 a.m. EDT (0742 GMT or 12:42 p.m. native time) on Friday for a fast, three-hour trip to the Worldwide Area Station.
You may watch the motion stay right here at Area.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency. Launch protection will begin at 2:45 a.m. EDT (0745 GMT).
If all the pieces goes in keeping with plan, the trio’s spacecraft will dock with the area station round 7:07 a.m. EDT (1107 GMT). Protection of that occasion will start at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT). NASA can even webcast the hatch opening and crew or flight controller remarks, that are anticipated to happen round 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).
This mission would be the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Soyuz commander Novitskiy and the primary for Dubrov.
NASA introduced Vande Hei’s involvement on this mission simply final month. Often crewmembers for long-duration area station missions get years of discover, however NASA fast-tracked Vande Hei after the company’s plans to shift to industrial crew alternatives have been difficult by ongoing technical points with Boeing’s Starliner astronaut taxi, which can delay that car’s first crewed flight to 2022.
(Like Boeing, SpaceX holds a contract with NASA’s Industrial Crew Program. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is up and operating and has already carried two crews to the orbiting lab.)
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Vande Hei did have some discover of the flight earlier than the general public announcement, he told Space.com in an exclusive interview. “Me getting ready for this flight was one thing we had completed as a contingency, simply in case we may get the seat,” he mentioned.
NASA often buys seats aboard the Soyuz. However on this case, NASA and Roscosmos, Russia’s federal area company, as a substitute agreed to change seats — Vande Hei’s on the Soyuz for a to-be-determined Roscosmos astronaut on a future industrial crew flight. Flight assignments are nonetheless being decided as NASA works out the kinks with industrial crew scheduling, and Vande Hei might thus spend a yr somewhat than the same old six months in area. However that hasn’t been totally determined but.
“Issues change and … now we have to coordinate with the Russians, Roscosmos specifically, to determine when to come back again,” Vande Hei informed Area.com.
His earlier spaceflight lasted six months. So Vande Hei mentioned he’ll sit up for a brand new “life expertise” if he’s tasked to remain aloft for a yr.
The three-person Soyuz MS-18 crew will be a part of seven Expedition 64 spaceflyers presently on the orbiting lab, making for one of many greatest crews in latest reminiscence. The seven individuals already there arrived on two spaceships final yr. A Soyuz introduced NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov to the station in October. Then, a SpaceX Crew Dragon despatched NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, in addition to Japan’s Soichi Noguchi, to the orbiting advanced in November.
Friday’s launch will happen three days earlier than the 60th anniversary of the primary human spaceflight, from the identical place that hosted that historic liftoff. On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin launched to Earth orbit from Baikonur. Russia’s area company Roscosmos has named the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft Gagarin after the famed cosmonaut.
Comply with Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.