Three space travelers, including two astronauts on their first flight, are scheduled to launch to theInternational Space Stationon Monday, Dec. 3 for asix-and-a-half month mission.Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agencyswebsite.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan,Anne McClainof NASA,David Saint-Jacquesof the Canadian Space Agency, andOleg Kononenkoof Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft Dec. 3 at 6:31 a.m. EST (5:31 p.m. Kazakhstan time).
Following a six-hour journey making four orbits of Earth, the crew will dock the Soyuz to the stations Poisk module at 12:35 p.m. to begin their mission on the orbital laboratory. It will be the first flight for both McClain and Saint-Jacques and the fourth for Kononenko.
Less than two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and the current crew, Expedition 57 CommanderAlexander Gerstof ESA (European Space Agency), NASA Flight EngineerSerena Aun-Chancellorand Roscosmos Flight EngineerSergey Prokopyev,who have been in orbit since June, will greet them.
Kononenko, McClain and Saint-Jacques will officially become the Expedition 58 crew when Gerst, Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev depart the station for home Dec. 20.
Coverage of the Expedition crews launch and docking activities are as follow (all times EST):
Monday, Dec. 3
- 5:30 a.m. Soyuz MS-11 launch coverage (launch at 6:31 a.m.)
- 11:45 a.m. Docking coverage (docking scheduled for 12:35 p.m.)
- 1:45 p.m. Hatch opening (expected at about 2:35 p.m.) and welcome coverage
A full complement of video of thecrews pre-launch activitiesin Baikonur will air on NASA TV in the days preceding launch beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
The crew members will continue work onhundreds of experimentsin biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanitys only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have worked closely with Russian space officials and station program partner Roscosmos to move forward on plans to launch the crew, completing a series of reviews including the station programs Flight Readiness Review. Station program officials will continue to follow the usual prelaunch process with Roscosmos to ensure the safety of the crew during its upcoming launch. McClain and Saint-Jacques also expressed confidence in the reliability of the Soyuz rocket and the partners efforts for a successful launch.
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