Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Soyuz spacecraft lifts new crew to space station

Soyuz spacecraft lifts new crew to space station

The Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft carrying three worldwide crew members to the global Space Station was launched on Wednesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

The rocket was carrying Alexander Misurkin of the Russia's Roscosmos space agency, NASA's first-time flyer Mark Vande Hei and veteran colleague Joe Acaba.

It took the Soyuz spacecraft about nine minutes to launch into an initial orbit 202 kilometres from Earth.

A Minnesota native is on his way to the International Space Station, where he will spend the next five-and-a-half months.

NASA says that notable upcoming experiments will include: "demonstrating the benefits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment", "a new study looking to slow or reverse muscle atrophy in astronauts during spaceflight", and "exploring the ability of a synthetic bone material that adheres bone to metal within minutes to accelerate bone fix". It orbits about 400 kilometres above Earth. The hatches between the spacecraft and station will open at 12:40 a.m. Wednesday.

"As a kid I never would have told anyone that I wanted to be an astronaut".

The other American astronaut, Vande Hei, had no space experience before the Wednesday flight.

Vande Hei said he's happy to be part of a "peaceful endeavour that could actually help out all of humanity". I always thought of astronauts as superheroes. Whitson, 57, broke the USA record for cumulative time in space. Their capsule successfully entered orbit and is expected to dock at the ISS after a six-hour flight, NASA and the Russian Roscosmos said. They'll continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology and biotechnology, as well as physical and earth sciences.

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