This afternoon, a new crew of three astronauts will embark on a flight to the International Space Station, bringing the total number of crew on the orbiting lab to its standard size of six.
The three-stage rocket emerged from its assembly building at the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome before sunrise Monday, riding a rail vehicle for the trip across the Kazakh steppe to Launch Pad No. 1, the same facility used by Yuri Gagarin when he became the first person in space in April 1961. Arnold has flown on one previous shuttle mission, and Artemyev has flown on one long-duration mission to the space station.
Andrew "Drew" Feustel, who has dual Canada-U.S. citizenship, is scheduled to blast off at 1:44 p.m. ET with fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
A Soyuz rocket is raised upright at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch on March 21, 2018, to the International Space Station.
The space travelers will dock to the orbital laboratory's Poisk module on Friday at 3.41 pm. They'll join Russian station commander Anton Shkaplerov, NASA's Scott Tingle and Japan's Norishige Kanai. The crew members will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
Arnold, a former educator, will continue 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.
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