WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Three new Expedition 37 crew members lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:58 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 25 (2:58 a.m. Kazakh time, Thursday, Sept. 26) on a six-hour trek to the International Space Station.
Expedition 37 Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins of NASA and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) are scheduled to dock their Soyuz spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory's Poisk module at 10:48 p.m. EDT. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the rendezvous and docking beginning at 10 p.m.
The crew is scheduled to open the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the space station at about 12:25 a.m. Thursday Sept. 26. Hatch opening coverage begins on NASA TV at midnight.
Hopkins, Kotov and Ryazanskiy will be greeted by three Expedition 37 crew members who have been aboard the space station since late May: Commander Fyodor Yurchikin of Rosmosmos and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.
The new crew will remain aboard the station until mid-March. Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano will return to Earth Nov. 11.
Expedition 37 will add several critical scientific investigations to the more than 1,600 experiments that have taken place so far aboard the space station. Several new investigations will focus on human health and human physiology. The crew will examine the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity on the immune system, provide metabolic profiles of the astronauts and collect data to help scientists understand how the human body changes shape in space. The crew also will conduct 11 investigations from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program on antibacterial resistance, hydroponics, cellular division, microgravity oxidation, seed germination, photosynthesis and the food making process in microgravity.
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