Contact and Capture: Three Crew Members Arrive at Station
The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module of the International Space Station at 9:01 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying over eastern China.
Following their two-day trip, astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos docked to the space station. Their arrival restores the station’s crew complement to six as they wait to join Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos aboard the orbiting laboratory.
The hatches between the two spacecraft will open following standard pressurization and leak checks. Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Station Waits for Friday Crew Arrival Ahead of June 14 Spacewalk
Two astronauts and a cosmonaut are racing toward the International Space Station today inside the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. The new Expedition 56-57 trio comprising Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst are due to arrive Friday at 9:07 a.m. EDT when they dock to the Rassvet module.
NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the rendezvous and docking of the new crew at 8:15 a.m. NASA TV will then be back on the air at 10:30 a.m. when the new crew opens the hatches at 11:05 a.m. and enters their new home in space where they will live for the next six months.
Waiting to greet their new crewmates are station Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Oleg Artemyev who have been onboard the orbital laboratory since March. All six Expedition 56 crew members will gather in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family and mission officials back on Moscow. Next the crewmates will begin familiarizing themselves with station systems and safety procedures.
In the meantime, Feustel and Arnold are moving ahead with preparations for next week’s spacewalk to outfit the station’s Harmony module with new enhanced high definition television cameras and wireless communications gear. The duo organized spacewalking tools and gear, recharged spacesuit and camera batteries and reviewed procedures for the 6.5-hour excursion planned for June 14. The new cameras will improve the view of approaching commercial crew vehicles for dockings in the future. The new wireless equipment will enable data transmission from payloads mounted on the outside of the Columbus and Kibo modules.
The Soyuz MS-09 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 7:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 6 (5:12 p.m. in Baikonur). At the time of launch, the station was flying about 250 miles above south central Egypt, moving from southwest to northeast. NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.
The crew will orbit Earth 34 times before the spacecraft’s arrival and docking to the space station’s Rassvet module at 9:07 a.m. Friday, June 8, which will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed at 10:30 a.m. by coverage of the opening of hatches between the spacecraft and station.
10:30 a.m. – Hatch opening and welcome coverage begins (hatch opening expected at 11:05 a.m.)
The arrival of Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev will restore the station to six crew members. They will join Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel and flight engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos. The crew will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
This crew continues the long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the space station. Highlights of upcoming investigations include a new facility to study ultra-cold quantum gases, the first commercial European facility to conduct microgravity research, and a system that uses surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid separation.
Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev are scheduled to remain aboard the station until October, while Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev are slated to return to Earth in December.
Countdown Under Way for Launch of Three Station Crew Members
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 7:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday (4:12 p.m. in Baikonur). Live launch coverage will begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The three will join Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel and flight engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos. The Expedition 56 crew members will contribute to more than 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:
10:12:41pm 9:00 Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel (June 5)
1:12:41am 6:00 Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
1:27:41am 5:45 Batteries installed in booster
1:57:41am 5:15 Crew arrives at Site 254
2:12:41am 5:00 Tanking begins
2:42:41am 4:30 Crew suit up
3:07:41am 4:05 Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
3:42:41am 3:30 Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
4:07:41am 3:05 First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
4:12:41am 3:00 Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad
4:17:41am 2:55 Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
4:37:41am 2:35 Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
4:47:41am 2:25 Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
5:37:41am 1:35 Descent module hardware tested
5:52:41am 1:20 Hatch closed; leak checks begin
6:12:41am 1:00 Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation 6:15:00am :57:41 NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
6:27:41am :45:00 Pad service structure components lowered
6:28:41am :44:00 Clamshell gantry service towers retracted 6:30:00am :42:41 NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
6:35:41am :37:00 Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
6:38:41am :34:00 Emergency escape system armed
6:57:41am :15:00 Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
7:02:41am :10:00 Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
7:05:41am :07:00 Pre-launch operations complete
7:06:41am :06:00 Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
7:07:41am :05:00 Commander’s controls activated
7:08:41am :04:00 Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
7:09:41am :03:00 Propellant drainback
7:09:56am :02:45 Booster propellant tank pressurization
7:11:11am :01:30 Ground propellant feed terminated
7:11:41am :01:00 Vehicle to internal power
7:12:06am :00:35 First umbilical tower separates Auto sequence start
7:12:11am :00:30 Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
7:12:26am :00:15 Second umbilical tower separates
7:12:29am :00:12 Launch command issued Engine Start Sequence Begins
7:12:31am :00:10 Engine turbo pumps at flight speed
7:12:36am :00:05 Engines at maximum thrust 7:12:41am :00:00 LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-09 TO THE ISS 7:21:26am +8:45 THIRD STAGE SHUTDOWN; SOYUZ ORBITAL INSERTION
The trio representing Roscosmos, NASA and the European Space Agency will orbit Earth for two days before arriving at the station’s Rassvet module Friday at 9:07 a.m. The crew will enter its new home after the hatches open around 11:30 a.m. to begin a six-month mission aboard the orbital laboratory. NASA TV will begin its live docking coverage Friday starting at 8:15 a.m.
Three veteran station residents will greet the newcomers Wednesday when Expedition 56 grows to its full complement of six team members. Station Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Oleg Artemyev have been living in space since March 21 and will help familiarize their new crewmates with station systems and safety procedures.
Meanwhile, the three orbiting Expedition 56 crewmates managed to work on scientific gear and prepare for next week’s spacewalk. Feustel cleaned samples cartridges inside the Electro-Static Levitation Furnace as Arnold readied the Plant Habitat-01 for upcoming botany research. The duo also assembled and tested spacewalking gear ahead of a June 14 spacewalk to install wireless communications gear on the Harmony module.