Watch NASA TV for Launch of Next Crew

Expedition 47-48 Crew Members
Expedition 47-48 crew members (from left) Jeff Williams, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka pose for a portrait two days before their launch.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos are preparing for launch to the International Space Station. Their six-month journey will begin with a lift off in a Soyuz spacecraft at 5:26 p.m. EDT Friday, March 18 (3:26 a.m. on March 19 in Baikonur).

NASA Television will broadcast launch coverage live beginning tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. For the NASA TV schedule and where to watch live and replays, visit:

The incoming crew will join Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineers Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos. A separate trio returned to Earth on March 1, including one-year mission crewmates NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos as well as cosmonaut Sergey Volkov. Kelly and Kornienko completed a historic 340-day mission aboard the station.

Below is the launch timeline for the crew in EDT:

March 18

11:26 a.m.    Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel (L-6)
11:41 a.m.    Batteries installed in booster
12:11 p.m.    Crew arrives at Site 254
12:26 p.m.    Tanking begins
12:56 p.m.    Crew suit up
12:21 p.m.    Booster loaded with liquid oxygen
1:56 p.m.      Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
2:21 p.m.      First and second stage Oxygen fueling complete
2:26 p.m.      Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad (L-3)
2:31 p.m.      Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
2:51 p.m.      Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
3:01 p.m.      Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
3:51 p.m.      Descent module hardware tested
4:06 p.m.      Hatch closed; leak checks begin
4:26 p.m.      Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation (L-1)
4:30 p.m.     NASA TV Launch Coverage Begins
4:40 p.m.     NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
4:41 p.m.      Pad service structure components lowered
4:42 p.m.      Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
4:49 p.m.      Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
4:52 p.m.      Emergency escape system armed
5:11 p.m.      Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
5:16 p.m.      Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
5:19 p.m.      Pre-launch operations complete
5:20 p.m.      Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
5:21 p.m.      Commander’s controls activated
5:22 p.m.      Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
5:23 p.m.      Propellant drainback
5:23 p.m.      Booster propellant tank pressurization
5:25 p.m.      Ground propellant feed terminated
5:25 p.m.      Vehicle to internal power
5:26 p.m.      First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
5:26 p.m.      Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
5:26 p.m.      Second umbilical tower separates
5:26 p.m.      Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
5:26 p.m.      Engine turbopumps at flight speed
5:26 p.m.      Engines at maximum thrust
5:26 p.m.     Launch of SOYUZ TMA-20M to the ISS
10:30 p.m.   Docking Coverage Begins on NASA TV
11:11 p.m.   Docking to the ISS
12:30 a.m.  Hatch opening coverage begins on NASA TV
12:55 a.m.  Hatch opens

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

2 thoughts on “Watch NASA TV for Launch of Next Crew”

    1. Launch is scheduled when the space station’s orbit takes it over the launch site. When the rocket launches its ascent into space aligns it with the space station’s orbit over Earth.

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