Three Expedition 49 astronauts have been launched to the International Space Station

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft at lift off atop a Soyuz rocket (Image NASA TV)
The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft at lift off atop a Soyuz rocket (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago ago the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying three new crew members to transport them to the International Space Station. The new version of the Soyuz spacecraft was launched once again in the route that will take two days instead of the six-hour fast path to keep on testing the new on-board systems.

The three new members of the International Space Station crew, who complete Expedition 49, are:

Robert S. Kimbrough. Born on June 4, 1967 in Killeen, Texas, USA, graduated at West Point military academy in aerospace engineering and started serving in the army even in war during Operation Desert Storm. In 1998, he received a master’s degree at Georgia Tech. He started working with NASA in the training of astronauts and only later he was selected as an astronaut himself. In 2008 he was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour during the STS-126 mission, which included docking with the International Space Station, where his tasks included two spacewalks.

Andrey Ivanovich Borisenko. Born on April 17, 1964 in the then Leningrad, in the then USSR, he graduated from his hometown’s school of mathematics and physics in 1981 and later at city’s Institute of Mechanical Military in 1987. For years he worked for a military unit and then for RSC Energia, where he started working on systems for space missions such as those for the Russian space station Mir. In 2003 he was selected as an cosmonaut candidate and after having been part of two backup crews in 2011 was part of the Expedition 27/28 crew on the International Space Station.

Sergey Nikolayevich Ryzhikov. Born on August 19, 1974 in Bugulma, in the then USSR and today in the Russian Federation Republic of Tatarstan, is a graduate of Kacha Air Force School in 1996. After serving as a pilot and later as head of a fighter regiment, in 2006 he was selected as a cosmonaut candidate. This is his first space mission.

As happened for the first spacecraft of the new series, there were some technical problems that delayed the launch for a few weeks. The consequence is that the three new crew members will remain on the International Space Station for only four months since they’re scheduled to return to Earth at the end of February 2017.

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft is now on its way to the International Space Station. Its arrival is scheduled for Friday, around 10 UTC.

Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko (Photo NASA/Joel Kowsky)
Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko (Photo NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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