The FINANCIAL — Three space travelers, including two astronauts on their first flight, are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on Monday, Dec. 3 for a six-and-a-half month mission. Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacquesof the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Kononenkoof Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft Dec. 3 at 6:31 a.m. EST (5:31 p.m. Kazakhstan time).
Following a six-hour journey making four orbits of Earth, the crew will dock the Soyuz to the station’s Poisk module at 12:35 p.m. to begin their mission on the orbital laboratory. It will be the first flight for both McClain and Saint-Jacques and the fourth for Kononenko.
Less than two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and the current crew, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev, who have been in orbit since June, will greet them.
Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques will officially become the Expedition 58 crew when Gerst, Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev depart the station for home Dec. 20.
The crew members will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have worked closely with Russian space officials and station program partner Roscosmos to move forward on plans to launch the crew, completing a series of reviews including the station program’s Flight Readiness Review.
Station program officials will continue to follow the usual prelaunch process with Roscosmos to ensure the safety of the crew during its upcoming launch. McClain and Saint-Jacques also expressed confidence in the reliability of the Soyuz rocket and the partners’ efforts for a successful launch.
According to NASA