NASA to cover launch of next International Space Station crew

27 May 2013

Flight engineer Karen Nyberg (left), Soyuz commander Fyodor Yurchikhin (centre), and flight engineer Luca Parmitano pose in front of the first stage engines of their Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image via NASA

Three astronauts are to hurtle toward the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan tomorrow aboard a Soyuz rocket to begin a mission aboard the orbiting space lab and US space agency NASA will capture the blast off and docking at the ISS.

Flight engineer Karen Nyberg of NASA, Soyuz commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and flight engineer Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) are scheduled to launch at 4.31pm EDT (9.31pm GMT).

They will dock their Soyuz capsule to the Rassvet module of the space station at 10.17pm EST (3.17am GMT, 29 May).

NASA coverage will begin at 3.30pm EST (8.30pm GMT), and will include video of all pre-launch activities tomorrow leading to the crew boarding the spacecraft. Docking coverage begins at 9.30pm EST (2.30am GMT, 29 May). Hatch opening coverage begins at 11.30pm (4.30am GMT, 29 May).

The hatches between the Soyuz and space station are expected to open at 11.55pm (4.55am GMT, 29 May), and the three astronauts will be greeted by commander Pavel Vinogradov, flight engineer Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, and flight engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA. That trio has been aboard the station since late March.

Nyberg, Yurchikhin and Parmitano will remain aboard the ISS until mid-November, conducting research and scientific experiments.

Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin will return to Earth in mid-September, leaving Yurchikhin as the Expedition 37 commander, NASA said.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic