Three new astronauts have joined the crew on the International Space Station or the ISS on Tuesday. The three astronauts took off Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
After a two-day trip, the Soyuz MS spacecraft carrying them docked successfully with the ISS. The new team includes first timer Norishige Kanai from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos, and rookie Scott Tingle from NASA.
The Three New Astronauts and Their Mission Aboard the ISS
This three-person team is replacing three outgoing crew members who returned to Earth on December 14. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA’s Randy Bresnik, and Sergei Ryazansky of Roscosmos had been on the space station since July 28. They had been completing scientific experiments and doing general maintenance.
Nespoli, Bresnik, and Ryazansky made their way back to Earth last week. Three other crew members have been on board since September 12.
Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency and NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba will remain in space until February 2018, working alongside Kanai, Tingle, and Shkaplerov. Since the ISS is designed to hold six crew members, the new group of three will ensure that the station has a full crew in the coming months.
When the new crew docked on Tuesday, they were greeted with radio messages from their families and Jon Huntsman Jr., the U.S. Ambassador in Russia. The group of well-wishers gathered at the RKA Mission Control Center outside of Moscow to welcome the new contingent to the ISS by radio.
This latest expedition will focus on scientific experiments. Over 200 are planned for the new crew’s six-month stint in space. Lab tests of a new chip-based method of delivering medication designed to combat muscle atrophy are among the scheduled experiments.
The three men are scheduled to remain on the space station until June 2018. Their replacements have not yet been announced. However, they will be joined by a new three-man crew in February when Misurkin, Vande Hei, and Acaba will be returning to Earth.
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