16. März 2018
Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are ready for their journey to the International Space Station that begins on Wednesday, March 21. Live coverage will air on NASA Television
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, are set to launch in the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft at 1:44 p.m. EDT (11:44 p.m. Kazakhstan time) March 21. After a two-day flight, the new crew members will dock to the station’s Poisk docking module at 3:41 p.m. Friday, March 25. About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and the new residents will be greeted as part of the Expedition 55 crew by station commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The crew members of Expedition 55-56 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. This crew continues the long-term increase in U.S. crew size from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the space station.
During his flight, former educator Ricky Arnold will wrap up NASA’s Year of Education on Station, an initiative to engage students and educators in human spaceflight and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
Coverage of Expedition 55 launch and docking activities is as follows (all times EDT):
Wednesday, March 21
· 12:45 p.m. – Soyuz MS-08 launch coverage (launch at 1:44 p.m.)
Friday, March 23
· 3 p.m. – Docking coverage (docking scheduled for 3:41 p.m.)
· 5 p.m. – Hatch opening and welcome coverage
A full complement of video of the crew’s pre-launch activities in Baikonur will air on NASA TV in the days preceding launch.