New Crew Heads to International Space Station to Continue Scientific Research
A new crew including members from the United States and Russia is on its way to the International Space Station after launching the Soyuz capsule September 25.
NASA announced that the Soyuz capsule was scheduled to dock with the $150 billion International Space Station at 10.16 P.M, six hours after the launch. The three crew members heading to the ISS include Barry 'Butch' Wilmore of NASA and Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency.
The crew members launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4.25 P.M EDT, Thursday, September 25. The hatches are scheduled to open at 11.50 p.m. The three crew members on their arrival will join Expedition 41 members that include Commander Max Suraev of Roscosmos, Reid Wiseman of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, who have been aboard ISS since May. The Expedition 41 members are expected to return in November after which Wilmore will be the commander of the station for Expedition 42 and are expected to return March 2015.
During the six-month mission, the team will carry several scientific investigations and technology demonstration that includes seedling growth, observation of meteors entering Earth's atmosphere and studies of animal biology and bone and muscle physiology.
"The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had continuous human occupation since November 2000. In that time, it has received more than 200 visitors and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration," according to news release.
Additional experiments to be performed by the new crew members include human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development and Earth observations. The team will also be a part of the educational activities. They are expected to conduct one Russian spacewalk and over three U.S. spacewalks.