Saturday, March 28, 2015

Soyuz Launch to ISS Reinforces Expedition 43

Soyuz Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Another crew for the ISS lifted off yesterday after midnight in Kazakhstan. Soyuz mission TMA-16M (NASA designation Soyuz 42- or is it the other way around?) lifted off at 1:42 p.m. MDT, carrying Soyuz commander cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko (both from Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency), and astronaut Scott Kelly. They docked with the space station about 6 hours later.

Crew of TMA-16M (L-R): Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko in front of Soyuz training simulator in Star City.

Currently on board the station are Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts (NASA), and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA) and Anton Shkaplerov (Roscosmos). When they return home in May, Gannady Padalka will become the next Expedition commander. While he will himself leave the station some time in September, Kelly and Kornienko will remain on board as part of a special project studying the effects of living in space for one entire year.

Already at the station: another Soyuz (closer to camera) and a Progress resupply ship.

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