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Expedition 52 New Crew Members Arrive at the International Space Station

Apr 21, 2017 07:27 AM EDT
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Two astronauts from Expedition 52 arrived on the International Space Station (ISS) to join three more space station crew from Expedition 51.
(Photo : NASA via Getty Images)

Joining three astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are two more crew members who arrived on the ISS last April 20.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin arrived at exactly 9:18 a.m. EDT. The new reinforcement brings the count to a total of five astronauts manning the science lab.

The two astronauts traveled for six hours aboard the Soyuz MS-04 rocket that was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EDT, according to a report. The capsule transporting the crew orbited the Earth for a total of four times before finally docking on the ISS.

The two joined Expedition 51 astronauts namely European Space Agency's (ESA) Thomas Pesquet, Roscomos' Oleg Novitsky and NASA's Peggy Whitson, the current station commander.

According to NASA, Expedition 51 will complete a total of 250 science investigations in the field of biology, earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development in a span of more than four months.

By June, two astronauts, Pesquet and Novitskiy, will travel back to Earth while Whitson and the newly arrived Yurchikin and Fischer will remain aboard the space station until September of this year.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the record of the oldest female astronaut to reach the ISS, will remain on board due to an extension from Expedition 51 to Expedition 52. Roscosmos and NASA both signed on the agreement that extended Whitson's ISS duty.

The ISS crew is also waiting for the arrival of Orbital ATK's resupply mission to the space station on April 22. The Cygnus cargo supply will bring supplies to enable astronauts to conduct antibody investigation concerned with chemotherapy drugs, advance plant habitat experiment and a study on magnetized cells and tools.

The resupply mission also carries with a 38 CubeSats, some built by students around the world as part of the QB50 program. The CubeSats could be deployed from the space station or the spacecraft itself.

Fischer will embark on a spacewalk with Whitson on May 12. The two will replace an avionics box on the ISS.

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