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Russian Soyuz Rocket Takes 3 Astronauts To The International Space Station

Jun 10, 2018 01:58 PM EDT
Expedition 56 Launch
The Soyuz MS-09 rocket is launched with Expedition 56 Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, flight engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, and flight engineer Alexander Gerst of ESA on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
(Photo : NASA | Joel Kowsky)

Russia's Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft finally latched onto the International Space Station after a two-day journey, carrying three new international members of the crew.

The rocket docked on the ISS' Rassvet module on Friday, June 8.

Soyuz Rocket Docks ISS

Aboard the rocket are NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor, European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, and Roscosmos' cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, NASA reports. The trio joins three others on the ISS: Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel, NASA's Ricky Arnold, and Roscosmos' Oleg Artemyev.

The threesome will be able to enter the ISS once the hatches between the Soyuz and the space station open. This will occur after standard pressurization and leak checks.

Feustel, Arnold, and Artemyev will be at the station until October. The latest batch, Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst, and Prokopyev are expected to follow them back to Earth in December.

ISS To-Do List

The ISS crew has a busy schedule ahead of them following the arrival of the new residents.

"Usually, the arriving crew is given a couple of days off to catch their breath and relax after a trip from the launch pad in Baikonur to the station," Rob Navias, the NASA commentator, reveals. "That will not be the case this weekend."

Feustel and Arnold will be continuing to work outside the ISS, while Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor will be assisting with the preparations.

New arrivals Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor are particularly interested in medical research on the experience in space. The former is interested in how the brain functions change in space, while the latter wants to learn more about the body's abilities to adapt to space's low-level chronic insults.

Soyuz Gives Extra Special Views Of Earth

Before the docking at the International Space Station, the Soyuz spacecraft let Earth-bound people get a unique glimpse of the planet.

When the rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, June 6, it had external cameras attached to it that offered stunning live-stream views of Earth from space.

In a live commentary, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren expressed how much he enjoyed the new angle as a spectator.

"This is a unique view," he says. "It's neat to actually have this perspective - to see how the engines are performing, and to see the second stage fall away, to see the Earth below."

It's the first time that a live video has been streamed from a Soyuz spacecraft. Other live-stream events used to show the inside of the Soyuz as well as the crew members making the trip.

"I like this external view, but I also kind of miss seeing the internal view to see the crew on the inside," Lindgren admits.

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