New US-Russian crew for space station launched

Washington: Three crew members of Expedition 49/50 for working at the International Space Station (ISS) were launched into orbit from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The Soyuz MS-02 blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday (1.35 p.m. India time), NASA said. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are now safely in orbit, it added.

Over the next two days, the trio will orbit the Earth 34 times before docking to the space station’s Poisk module on Friday. The three join Expedition 49 Commander Anatoli Ivanishin of Roscosmos, flight engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The new crew members will spend a little over four months conducting more than 250 science investigations in fields of biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Kimbrough, Ryzhikov and Borisenko are scheduled to remain aboard the ISS station until late February. Rubins, Ivanishin and Onishi will return to the Earth one October 30, NASA said. The crew will welcome a variety of cargo deliveries to the space station, including Orbital ATK’s Cygnus, which was launched on Monday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.