New crew launching to space station on Thursday

New crew launching to space station on Thursday

New crew launching to space station on Thursday

US astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, left, Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), pose near a bus prior to the launch of the Soyuz FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

In December 2018, another crew consisting of the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and NASA's Anne McClain was successfully sent into orbit in the first manned space flight since the incident.

This week, Ovchinin and Hague said they were confident this time about reaching the International Space Station, though they said a small fault had been discovered on their rocket during final checks.

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Expedition 59 will continue space station experiments ranging from biology to physics, as well as make improvements to the station itself.

In the meantime, two spacewalks are scheduled in the coming weeks: the first on March 22 with Anne McClain and Nick Hague.

Their arrival will mark the beginning of Expedition 59 (Saint-Jacques is part of 58 and 59). The outings will upgrade the station's current power systems and begin installations for a new science platform. After the 3:14 p.m. EDT launch, coverage will resume with the Soyuz docking at 10:07 p.m., and the hatch opening and welcome ceremony at 11:30 p.m.

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