Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

New US-Russian Space Station Crew Launching Early Thursday

New US-Russian Space Station Crew Launching Early Thursday

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer (right) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin pose for a picture with their Sokol spacesuits at the Integration Building of Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 6, 2017 ahead of an April 20 launch.

Fisher, with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is sharing the station with two seasoned veterans, a Russian cosmonaut on his second flight and a first-time French flier. Meanwhile, new science gear and crew supplies are on orbit right now and headed for the International Space Station this weekend.

NASA's Peggy Whitson, the crew's commander, Russia's Oleg Novitskiy and France's Thomas Pesquet greeted Fischer and Yurchikhin with cheers and hugs.

This is the first two-person launch to the ISS in more than a decade, with Russian Federation scaling back its space station staffing until a much-delayed science laboratory is flown to the $100bn (£78bn) space station next year.

"I learnt from the master".

She is expected to receive a congratulatory phone call on Monday from US President Donald Trump, NASA said on Wednesday. Station commander Peggy Whitson, 57, in the midst of her third long-duration mission, is due on Monday to beat the 534-day record for cumulative time spent in space by a United States astronaut. Jeffrey Williams now holds the 534-day record.

Two days after Yurchikhin and Fischer dock and join their Expedition 51 crewmates, the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will arrive to resupply the orbital laboratory.

At 57, Whitson also is the oldest woman in space.

Fischer and Yurchikhin, making his fifth space flight, will spend more than four months aboard the orbiting station before also returning to Earth in September.

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