An international crew made up of United States and French astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut will be spending 6 months in space in the International Space Station laboratory.
On November 19, the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft brought the International Space Station or ISS its three newest residents.
The three are NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Oleg Novitskiy, a cosmonaut part of the Roscosmos or the Russian federal space agency. The third new member is Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut part of the European Space Agency or the ESA.
The international crew docked their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft to the Rassvet module belonging to the ISS orbiting laboratory.
As the docking was initiated at 04:58 P.M. EST, the latches linking the two space modules are scheduled to open on November 20 at approximately 07:35 P.M. EST.
NASA TV has announced that it will be covering the event, which takes place some 260 miles above Erath, and will offer live coverage starting with 06:45 P.M. EST.
The Soyuz spacecraft containing the three members international crew lifted off on Thursday, November 17, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome situated in Kazakhstan.
These three new members will complete the six members mission which is set to take place on board the ISS.
The mission is led by the NASA commander Shane Kimbrough and completed by Roscosmos flight engineers Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov.
As the international crew now has all its members, the initial crew of three arrived on the ISS in October.
The team’s mission will be to staff and experiment in the space station’s orbiting laboratory. They will conduct experiments and study various domains.
Biotechnology, biology, Earth science, and physical science are amongst the domains of science which will be studied and experimented on in the ISS lab.
Their mission will last until February 2017 when commander Kimbrough and Borisenko and Ryzhikov will be departing and returning to Earth.
Following Kimbrough’s departure, Penny Whitson will become the mission leader. She will also become the first woman to lead the ISS twice in its 16 years old history.
From March to May 2017, the mission will be joined by another two crew members, NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos’s Alexander Misurkin.
May 15, 2017, is the current date of return for both the aforementioned 2 members as well as the current 3 crew members that will soon be docking.
The interchanging international crew will experiment in a variety of fields, some of which could have a high impact on future missions. One such research will seek to determine the genetic properties of plants grown in the outer-space.
Another study, whose results may affect a more widespread area will be on the effects of low light and its impact on the well-being and health of the crew members. These results could also apply to some Earth-bound residents.
A further interesting study will seek to determine how microgravity environment in orbit affects the human process of tissue regeneration.
The current mission will most probably be finished in May 2017 after the departure of Vande Hei, Misurkin, Whitson, Pesque, and Novitskiy.
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