New Station Crew Launches Live Today on NASA TV

Expedition 50 Crew Members
Expedition 50 crew members (from left) Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet are seen in quarantine behind glass during a crew press conference. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing for launch to the International Space Station. They are scheduled to lift off today in a Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft at 3:20 p.m. EST (2:20 a.m. Nov. 18, Baikonur time).

Live coverage of the launch will begin at 2:30 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Check out the NASA TV schedule online for information on how to watch live and replays.

The three crew members will join Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who have been aboard the complex since October. Whitson, Novitskiy and Pesquet will remain aboard the station until next spring. Kimbrough, Ryzhikov and Borisenko are scheduled to remain aboard the station until late February.

The Expedition 50 crew members will contribute to more than 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Below is the launch timeline for the crew in EST:

Nov. 17

9:20 a.m.        Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
9:35 a.m.        Batteries installed in booster
10:05 a.m.      Crew arrives at Site 254
10:20 a.m.      Tanking begins
10:50 a.m.      Crew suit up
11:15 a.m.      Booster loaded with liquid oxygen
11:50 a.m.      Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
12:15 p.m.      First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
12:20 p.m.      Crew walkout from 254; boards bus for the launch pad
12:25 p.m.      Crew departs for launch pad at Site 31
12:45 p.m.      Crew arrives at launch pad
12:55 p.m.      Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
1:45 p.m.        Descent module hardware tested
2:00 p.m.        Hatch closed; leak checks begin
2:20 p.m.        Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
2:35 p.m.        Pad service structure components lowered
2:36 p.m.        Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
2:43 p.m.        Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
2:45 p.m. NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
2:46 p.m.        Emergency escape system armed
3:05 p.m.        Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
3:10 p.m.        Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
3:13 p.m.        Pre-launch operations complete
3:14 p.m.        Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
3:15 p.m.        Commander’s controls activated
3:16 p.m.        Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
3:17 p.m.        Propellant drainback
3:17 p.m.        Booster propellant tank pressurization
3:18 p.m.        Ground propellant feed terminated
3:19 p.m.        Vehicle to internal power;
3:19 p.m.        First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
3:19 p.m.        Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
3:19 p.m.        Second umbilical tower separates
3:20 p.m.        Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
3:20 p.m.        Engine turbopumps at flight speed
3:20 p.m.        Engines at maximum thrust
3:20:13 p.m.  LAUNCH
3:28 p.m.        Third stage separation and orbital insertion

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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