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Soyuz Spacecraft Arrives at Baikonur Launch Pad Ahead of ISS Mission

Nov 16, 2016 04:36 AM EST
Expedition 50 Soyuz Rollout
The Russian rocket, Soyuz that will transport Expedition 50 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) completed its rollout and is ready for launch at the launch pad in Kazakhstan.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

As the next mission to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) draws near, the Soyuz rocket that will be used for the launched was moved to Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.

The Russian rocket completed its voyage to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last Monday, Nov. 14. The rocket will be used to take Expedition 50 astronauts to space.

The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed the completion of the rollout and terrestrial voyage of the Soyuz rocket. Based on the series of photographs released by ESA, the spacecraft was moved in a horizontal position and then it was erected for launch in a very sensitive and calculated manner.

Today, the rocket stands tall and ready for its mission to send humans to space. The Soyuz MS-03 Expedition 50 mission will bring NASA astronaut Peggy Anette Whitson, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy to the International Space Station (ISS).

The transporter's passengers include astronauts who previously performed missions on the ISS namely, Whitson and Novitskiy. For astronaut Thomas Pesquet, it will be his first flight to space. Pesquet even shared how excited he is while he shared an image of a mockup of the ISS. "This is just a mockup, soon I will be there for real!" Thomas Pesquet said in a Tweet.

Soyuz was put into place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome last Nov. 14, right in time for the supermoon. Senior NASA photographer took advantage of the rollout and used the towering Russian rocket as his point of reference while photographing the supermoon.

With the rocket as a vital element in his supermoon photo, Ingalls was able to produce stunning and iconic images of the biggest supermoon to occur in the last 70 years.

In a way, this made the Russian rocket's journey to the International Space Station (ISS) more interesting. A piece of trivia from ESA, Soyuz will transport to the ISS the first woman commander of the space station, Peggy Whitson.

Meanwhile, while the rocket is ready and standing proudly at the launch pad, the crew are also preparing for the launch. "The crew is in Baikonur and preparing the last details of the launch. They also have the opportunity to see their family before they leave Earth for several months to work on the Space Station,"  Roland Luettgens, ESA mission director said in a blog entry.

It will take two days for the rocket to transport the astronauts to the space station.


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