Three Expedition 48-49 crew members are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome awaiting the beginning of their mission in less than two weeks. Back inside the International Space Station, the orbiting crew is working on research hardware and conducting life science.
Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and first time space flyers Kate Rubins from NASA and Takuya Onishi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are at their launch site counting down to a July 6 launch. The new trio will launch aboard the upgraded Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft and take a two day trip before docking to the Rassvet module.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will welcome their new crewmates July 9. After they dock and enter their new home, the new station residents will say hello to family and mission officials and then receive a safety briefing before kicking off their four-month mission.
In the meantime, Williams stowed hardware that observed how gases and liquids flow through porous media. The hardware is part of the Packed Bed Reactor Experiment that may help engineers design more efficient life support systems benefiting future space missions.
The two cosmonauts, Skripochka and Ovchinin, explored how plasmas behave when trapped in a magnetic field. The duo also looked at heart health in space and photographed Earth features to document natural and man-made changes.