Launch Day Arrives for Three Expedition 48-49 Crew Members

Expedition 48-49 crew members
(From left) Expedition 48-49 crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi pose for a group photograph following the crew press conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are preparing for launch to the International Space Station. They are scheduled to lift off in a Soyuz spacecraft today at 9:36 p.m. EDT (7:36 a.m. Baikonur time, July 7). All three will spend approximately four months on the orbital complex, returning to Earth in October.

Live launch coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website. For the NASA TV schedule and where to watch live and replays, visit:

The three will join Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos. The Expedition 48 crew members will spend four months contributing to more than 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

NASA TV coverage will begin at 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 8 for docking to the space station’s Rassvet module at 12:12 a.m. Saturday, July 9. Hatches are scheduled to open about 2:50 a.m. Saturday, July 9, with NASA TV coverage resuming at 2:30 a.m.

Below is the launch timeline for the crew in EDT:

July 6

3:36 p.m.        Crew departs hotel (L-6 hrs)
3:51 p.m.        Batteries installed in booster (L-5 hrs, 45 min)
4:06 p.m.        State Commission “Go” (L-5 hrs, 30 min)
4:21 p.m.        Crew arrives at Bldg 254 / Final medical check-ups
4:36 p.m.        Tanking begins (L-5 hrs)
5:06 p.m.        Crew suit up (L-4 hrs, 30 min)
5:31 p.m.        Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen (L-4 hrs, 5 min)
6:06 p.m.        Crew greets family and friends (L-3 hrs, 30 min)
6:31 p.m.        1st and 2nd stage O2 fueling complete (L-3 hrs, 5 min)
6:36 p.m.        Crew walkout (L-3 hrs)
6:41 p.m.        Crew departs for pad – Site 1 (L-2 hrs, 55 min)
7:01 p.m.        Crew arrives at launch pad – Site 1 (L-2 hrs, 35 min)
7:11 p.m.        Crew boards Soyuz MS-01 (L-2 hr, 25 min)
7:36 p.m.        Crew in re-entry vehicle (L-2 hrs)
8:01 p.m.        Re-entry vehicle hardware tested/suits ventilated
8:16 p.m.        Hatch closed; leak checks begin (L-1 hr, 20 min)
8:30 p.m.       NASA TV:     Launch coverage begins
8:36 p.m.        Launch vehicle control system prep; gyros active (L-1 hr)
8:40 p.m.       NASA TV:     Crew pre-launch activities (B-roll)
8:51 p.m.        Pad service structure components lowered (L-45 min)
8:52 p.m.        Clamshell-like gantry service towers retracted
8:59 p.m.        Suit leak checks; re-entry vehicle testing complete
9:02 p.m.        Emergency escape system armed (L-34 min)
9:21 p.m.        Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
9:26 p.m.        Gyros “uncaged” and recorders activated (L-10 min)
9:29 p.m.        Pre-launch operations complete (L-7 min)
9:30 p.m.        Final launch countdown operations to auto (L-6 min)
Launch complex/vehicle systems ready
9:31 p.m.        Commander’s controls active/helmets closed (L-5 min)
Launch key inserted
9:32 p.m.        Combustion chamber nitrogen purge (L-4 min)
9:33 p.m.        Booster propellant tank pressurization (drainback)
9:35 p.m.        Ground propellant feed terminated (L-90 seconds)
9:35:41 p.m.  Vehicle to internal power (L-60 seconds)
9:36:06 p.m.   Auto sequence start (L-35 seconds)
First umbilical tower separates
9:36:11 p.m.  3rd stage ground power umbilical separates (L-30 sec)
9:36:26 p.m.  Second umbilical tower separates (L-15 sec)
9:36:29 p.m.  Launch command issued (L-12 sec)
Central/side pod engines start
9:36:31 p.m.  Engine turbopumps at flight speed (L-10 sec)
9:36:36 p.m.  Engines at maximum thrust (L-5 sec)
9:36:41 p.m. LAUNCH (1 hr, 28 min after sunrise)
ISS 254 miles up and above southern Cameroon near border with Equatorial Guinea
9:45:26 pm   Orbital insertion (L+8 min, 45 sec)

July 8

11:30 p.m.     NASA TV: Docking coverage begins
12:12 am        Docking to MRM1 –“Rassvet”
2:30 a.m.       NASA TV: Coverage resumes
2:50 a.m.        Hatches scheduled to open

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: and on Twitter @Space_Station.

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