New Delhi: Barely a few days ahead of the Expedition 48 crew makes it to the International Space Station (ISS), American space agency NASA has announced the names of the three astronauts who will be a part of it.
Presently, the space station is home to Expedition 47's three-member crew consisting of American astronaut Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Russian Roscosmos.
The Expedition 48 crew will consist of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch at 9:36 pm (7:36 am Baikonur time, July 7) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
All three will spend approximately four months on the orbital complex, returning to Earth in October.
These expeditions are jointly conducted by NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Canada, along with the Italian and Brazilian space agencies (ASI and AEB respectively), wherein, the astronauts aboard the ISS carry out experiments related to biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, which will aid the space agency in its mission for a future Mars and other deep space probes.
As per NASA, the trio will travel in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft, testing modified systems for two days – and 34 Earth orbits – before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module at 12:12 am, Saturday, July 9. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 11:30 pm Friday, July 8.
Hatches between the Soyuz and station will be opened about 2:50 am Saturday, when the newly arrived crew will be greeted by Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos. NASA TV coverage of hatch opening and welcoming ceremonies will begin at 2:30 am.
The entire event will be covered on NASA's live TV.