Russia Sends Veteran Crew Members to the International Space Station

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Russia yesterday on March 21, 2018 launched a Soyuz rocket into space from its cosmodrome in Baikonur sending two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station (ISS).

Oleg Artemyev, the cosmonaut from Russia and Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel from NASA are scheduled to dock with the ISS’s orbital outpost on Friday (23 March) after completing a 50 hour journey and manoeuvring into the orbit of the space station.

There, they’ll join Russian station commander Anton Shkaplerov; Scott Tingle of NASA; and, Japan’s Norishige Kanai, a JAXA astronaut Japan’s. The newly launched members will spend more than 4 months on the ISS.

NASA astronaut Feustel has had two shuttle flights earlier including the STS-125 flight in 2009 which was targeted as the final repair mission for the Hubble Telescope. On the other hand, Arnold has one previous shuttle mission under his belt and Russia’s Artemyev has a long-duration mission to ISS.

Shortly after their arrival at the space station NASA’s Arnold and Fesutel will perform a spacewalk to replace cameras outside the International Space Station and also to install wireless antennas.

Earlier at its launching station, the Soyuz expedition rocket was prepared for its launch and the members of the Expedition 55 – as it is called – also posed for the crew portraits at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City in Russia.

Ricky Arnold, one of the crew members, has also taught mathematics and science for middle schools and high schools and will continue the Year in Education on Station which is NASA’s program through which educators from the space station will speak to the schools from space through video and radio chats. They will also record science and technology activities on space to be sent to Earth.