Russian Soyuz capsule with 3 astronauts blasts off for space station

Katie Ramirez
June 8, 2018

Aboard the rocket will be NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor; Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency; and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

Gerst, 42, affectionately known as Astro Alex, tweeted from the bus to the cosmodrome: "Mood in the crew is super".

The ISS, which is orbiting 400 kilometers above the Earth, is now manned by three astronauts, including two Americans and one Russian.

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Shkaplerov took a Telstar 18 ball to Earth, of which it will be used for the World Cup, to be launched next June 14th in 11 cities and 12 stadiums in this country. The three arriving astronauts will remain aboard until December. They have been living on the five-bedroom house-sized space station (from the inside) since March 21 and will introduce all the systems and safety procedures to the newcomers.

While at the ISS, the crew will continue working on experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science. This will be Gerst's second flight into space; the others are going up for the first time. She has been selected to enter the training program in 2009 and now has become the 61st woman to fly in space. According to a release from NASA, the launch has been scheduled for 7:12 a.m. EDT, but the coverage will start approximately an hour earlier on NASA TV.

The organization has been busy preparing for a return to the Moon and setting up the Mars expedition, so the development of tool needed to carry humans safely into space was left to private contractors the likes of SpaceX or Boeing.

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