A Russian Soyuz rocket launched three veteran space travelers from the U.S., Russia and Italy into orbit Friday (July 28), kicking off a five-month mission to the International Space Station .
The trio successfully launched at 11:41 a.m. EDT (1541 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which borders Russia in the north and west. It was 9:41 p.m. local time at the launch site.
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft was helmed by experienced Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, alongside Randy Bresnik (NASA) from California and Paolo Nespoli (European Space Agency) from Milan, Italy. After a 6-hour orbital chase, the Soyuz docked at the space station’s Rassvet module at 5:54 p.m. EDT (2154 GMT).
The Soyuz MS-05 rocket carrying Expedition 52 flight engineer Sergei Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, flight engineer Randy Bresnik of NASA and flight engineer Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency launches into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Friday, July 28, 2017.
Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Throughout the NASA launch broadcast, Public Affairs spokesperson Dan Huot said ground control in Houston and Moscow were “continuing to get good reports,” and confirmed “we had a successful launch.”
All three space travelers have been to space before. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy first trained for space flights as the commander of a crew during Russia’s 105-day Mars500 isolation experiment in 2009. He ultimately served as flight engineer aboard the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft in 2013, and spent 166 days in space — this will be his second launch and long-duration mission. Since last year, he has also served as the chairman for the youth organization Russian Movement of Schoolchildren.
Astronaut Randy Bresnik also experimented in simulation missions early in his career. He commanded the underwater NEEMO 19 mission (the name’s short for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) in 2014. This will be his second spaceflight and his first long-duration mission: He flew to the space station aboard a NASA shuttle in 2009. In fact, Bresnik experienced some baby jitters when his daughter was scheduled to be born the day of his first spacewalk. In one bit of trivia, Bresnik’s grandfather was the photographer for famed female pilot Amelia Earhart. For this flight, Bresnik told Space.com that he’s looking forward to seeing the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse from the space station .
Astronaut Paolo Nespoli is heading to space for the third time: He flew for two weeks on the space shuttle in 2007 to help install a module of the space station, and he revisited the space station in 2010 for a 160-day mission. Nespoli is an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA). His science mission for ESA is called Vita (short for Vitality, Innovation, Technology and Ability) and was selected by Italy’s ASI space agency. Vita is Italian for “life.”
Expedition 52 flight engineer Randy Bresnik of NASA, top, flight engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), middle, and flight engineer Sergei Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos wave farewell before boarding their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft for a launch to the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on July 28, 2017.
Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The trio will join the Expedition 52 crew, which includes Peggy Whitson (NASA) of Iowa, Fyodor Yurchikhin (Roscosmos) from the country of Georgia and Jack Fischer (NASA) of Colorado. The latter three have been studying how microgravity impacts cancer therapies since April, and have been measuring the composition of meteors orbiting Earth’s atmosphere.
The three new arrivals will participate in many research projects, including a phenomenon that is perhaps of special interest to the astronauts already in orbit: the “puffy face” appearance that astronauts have in microgravity. According to NASA’s space station blog , one of the effects of living in space is a tendency of bodily fluids to move up toward the head, which may lead to vision damage.
They will also undertake research projects that pertain to biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science. This new crew will remain at the space station until mid-December, according to NASA.
They will also undertake research projects that pertain to biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science. This new crew will remain at the space station until mid-December, according to NASA.The three new arrivals will participate in many research projects, including a phenomenon that is perhaps of special interest to the astronauts already in orbit: the “puffy face” appearance that astronauts have in microgravity. According to NASA’s space station blog , one of the effects of living in space is a tendency of bodily fluids to move up toward the head, which may lead to vision damage.
This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. EDT.