New crew blasts off for ISS

Soyuz MS-09 rocket

Soyuz MS-09 rocket

News Brief: Three spacefliers from three different countries are on their way to the International Space Station for a almost six-month tour of duty after today's launch from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The launch of a Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the spacecraft took place at 14:12 p.m. local time (1112 GMT) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, it said in a statement.

The spacecraft, launched this day into space by the carrier rocket Sozuz-FG, went into space and began its flight independently.

While giving an interview to the Washington Post, Bridenstine stated that he is holding talks with several global companies regarding commercially managing the American the space station.

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The trio only have a total of one previous space mission between them - 42-year-old Gerst's debut mission aboard the ISS was in 2014 - making this one of the less experienced space station crews in recent times.

The docking, as well as the entry of the astronauts into their new home, will also be live streamed on NASA TV, with the coverage for the former beginning at 8:15 a.m. EDT. The three arriving astronauts will remain aboard until December.

The 56th long-distance expedition has already begun its work at the ISS, made up of the American Andrew Foistel, the ship's captain, the flight and cosmonaut engineer from Roskosmos Oleg Artiomov and NASA's Richard Arnold. They would be joining the existing crew of three on the station. They have been preparing for a June 14 spacewalk. "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", NASA said. ISS expeditions typically last for five to six months, but in March 2016, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russia's Mikhail Kornienko completed a year-long stay on the station in a bid to bolster research into long-term space travel and its effect.

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