Russian crew reaches International Space Station

Russian crew reaches International Space Station

The International Space Station has three new crew members.

A Soyuz MS-12 rocket has taken off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying a Russian cosmonaut, Alexey Ovchinin, and two USA astronauts, Christina Hammock Koch and Nick Hague to the International Space Station (ISS).

Hague and Ovchinin's journey to the ISS was initially planned for October 11, last year.

Koch, Hague and Ovchinin's six-hour flight will also be closely watched for another reason.

"Just growing up in eastern N.C.it was a handsome place and I count that as one of the many reasons I became interested in things like space and exploration.", she said, according to the station. "And to have that ripped out of your hands, that's devastating".

The October failure was the first aborted launch for the Russian space program in 35 years and only the third in history. The two astronauts and cosmonaut join NASA's Anne McClain, Canada's David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos' Oleg Kononenko.

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During their time on ISS, the astronauts will manage as many 250 different scientific experiments.

NASA astronauts Vande Hei and crewmate Scott Tingle ventured outside the International Space Station to perform maintenance on the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm during a seven-hour and 24-minute spacewalk.

"We don't accept the risk blindly, we have mitigated it as much as we can, and we always plan to be successful", Hague said. "It's a mission where we're going up there and collecting data so the scientists on the ground can better understand our world, they can better understand our bodies, they can better understand the world around us. and that's a vital mission that's benefitting all of humanity". Numerous experiments being conducted on the spacecraft provide useful information for scientific initiatives back on Earth, as well as future missions that will go deeper into space.

On March 22nd and 29th, spacewalks done in pairs will replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more the powerful lithium-ion ones (like those found in modern electronics) for power channels on one pair of the station's solar arrays.

Soyuz MS-12, carrying Roscosmos astronaut Alexei Ovchinin, and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, will automatically approach the ISS and dock to it at 04:07 Moscow time (0107 GMT) Friday.

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