Expedition 64 Crew Blasts Off on Soyuz Rocket for Express Ride to Space Station

Expedition 64 crew members (from left) Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in front of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft.

Nearly nine minutes after a successful launch at 1:45 a.m. EDT of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos safely reached orbit. They have begun a two-orbit, three-hour flight to reach the International Space Station and join the Expedition 63 crew. At the time of launch, the station was flying about 259 miles over northwest Uzbekistan at the border with Kazakhstan, 339 statute miles ahead the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.

This is the second spaceflight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov.

The Soyuz rocket that will launch three Expedition 64 crewmates to the station on Wednesday stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

Rubins and the two Russian cosmonauts will dock the Soyuz to the station’s Rassvet module at 4:52 a.m. Coverage of the docking will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 4 a.m.

About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and they will join Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April.

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