US and Russian astronauts launch together to ISS space station

US and Russian astronauts launch together to ISS space station

According to images provided by NASA, the Soyuz 2.1A rocket lifted off from the base in Baikonur, Kazakhstan at 3:54 p.m. Dutch time. Soyuz will launch the Soyuz MS-22 capsule towards the space station. If all goes according to plan, the capsule will arrive there three hours after launch. After landing, it will automatically dock with the Russian Rasvet module.

The passengers were Russians Sergei Prokopjev and Dmitry Bedlin and American Frank Rubio. Rubio will be the first American on Soyuz since April 2021. Earlier this year, US space agency NASA and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos signed a ‘seat swap’ agreement. It allows American astronauts to fly Russian spacecraft and Russian astronauts with SpaceX’s Dragon, NASA’s manned transport to the ISS. In October, Anna Kikhina, the only female astronaut currently in operation, flew Crew Dragon to the space station.

The crew, which left on Wednesday, will make five spacewalks during their 188-day stay. They are expected to carry out 48 experiments, launch satellites and perform tasks related to equipment of the space station. Notably, their duties include playing soccer on the ISS. During previous missions, the space station played tennis and badminton. In addition to the three crew members, the Soyuz carries health and medical supplies, scientific equipment and personal belongings belonging to the crew on board.

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