Three Expedition 48 astronauts have been launched to the International Space Station

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A few hours ago the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying three new crew members to be transported to the International Space Station. Unlike the usual fast path that takes six hours, it began a two-day trip that will allow to test the new version of its on-board systems.

The three new members of the International Space Station crew, completing Expedition 48, are:

Kathleen Hallisey “Kate” Rubins. Born on October 14, 1978 in Farmington, Connecticut, USS, she earned a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology at the University of California at San Diego and a Ph.D. in cancer biology at Stanford University. After conducting various researches in the field of biology connected to various diseases, in 2009 she was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA. This is her first mission in space.

Anatoly Alekseyevich Ivanishin. Born on January 15, 1969 in Irkutsk, in the then USSR and now in Russia, he graduated from the Chernigov Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots. After serving for several years in the Russian air force, in 2003 he was accepted as a candidate cosmonaut. Between September 2011 and April 2012 he already served on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 29/30. He’s married and has a son.

Takuya Onishi. Born on December 22, 1975 in Nerima, a district of Tokyo, Japan, he earned a Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tokyo. He worked for All Nippon Airways (ANA) for some years and in 2009 was selected by the Japanese space agency JAXA as an astronaut candidate. In 2011 he participated as an aquanaut in the NEEMO 15 mission in the underwater laboratory Aquarius. This is his first mission in space.

Due to some problems in the set up of the new systems on board the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft, similar to those already tested in the Progress MS-01 cargo spaceship, the launch scheduled for June was delayed until today. The consequence is that the three new crew members will remain on the International Space Station for four months only because they’re scheduled to return to Earth at the end of October.

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is now en route to the International Space Station. The arrival is scheduled for Saturday, right after 4 AM UTC.

Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi at a press conference before the launch (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi at a press conference before the launch (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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