WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Three crew members of Expedition 49/50 are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 19 (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Live launch coverage will begin at 3:15 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency's website.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, will travel for two days in the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft to test upgraded spacecraft systems before docking to the space station's Poisk module at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 5:15 a.m.
Hatches between the Soyuz and station will open at approximately 8:35 a.m., and the arriving crew will be welcomed on board by Expedition 49 Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who have been aboard the complex since July. NASA TV coverage of hatch opening and welcoming ceremonies will begin at 8 a.m.
The original launch date of Sept. 23 was postponed due to a technical issue with the Soyuz spacecraft, which Roscosmos repaired.
Kimbrough, Ryzhikov and Borisenko will spend a little more than four months together aboard the orbital complex before returning to Earth in late February. The full six-person crew will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanity's only microgravity laboratory.
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