Russian, U.S. Spaceships Get Ready for Launch Ahead of Spacewalk

In Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 58 crew members
In Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 58 crew members (from left) Anne McClain, Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques pose for pictures Nov. 27 as part of traditional pre-launch activities.

In a replay similar to the weekend before Thanksgiving, two rockets on the opposite sides of the world are poised to launch one day after another to replenish the International Space Station with a new crew and cargo.

Three new Expedition 58 crew members are preparing to blast off to the space station on a Russian Soyuz crew ship early next week. The following day, SpaceX will launch its Dragon cargo craft to the orbital lab atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

New astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques with veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will take a six-hour ride to the station on Monday Dec. 3. The trio will lift off inside their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft at 6:31 a.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About six hours later they will reach their new home in space and dock to the Poisk module beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission.

The SpaceX Dragon is targeted to begin its ascent to space from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 4. Dragon will orbit Earth for two days loaded with new science before it is captured with the station’s Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module.

Back in space, three Expedition 57 crew members are getting ready for the arrival of both spacecraft while staying focused on microgravity science and spacewalk preparations.

Commander Alexander Gerst and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor trained for next week’s Dragon rendezvous and capture on a computer today. The duo also continued working on more life science and physics research. Gerst once again studied how protein crystals impact Parkinson’s disease to possibly improve treatments on Earth. Serena researched how cement hardens in space and continued setting up hardware for a semiconductor crystal experiment.

Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev is configuring the station’s Russian segment for a spacewalk targeted for Dec. 11. He and Kononenko will inspect the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module before the Expedition 57 trio returns to Earth on Dec. 20.

8 thoughts on “Russian, U.S. Spaceships Get Ready for Launch Ahead of Spacewalk”

  1. My family and I love watching the ISS passing over our house. My 3 year old daughter gets really excited. She asks “when is the space ship coming daddy?”

  2. Interested to hear the results of the cement experiment bearing in mind that water is used as part of the process to create cement, and the ambient temperature of space. Would it not just freeze before it sets?

  3. Eu e minha família vibramos muito a cada passada da ISS aqui na nossa cidade, SANT’ANA DO LIVRAMENTO-estado do RIO GRANDE DO SUL, BRASIL, é maravilhoso saber que diversos astronautas de diversos países trabalham lá pelo bem da humanidade.

  4. When the shuttle was flying to the ISS, I saw a line of three spacecraft, less than a total minute apart one evening. ISS in the lead, a shuttle in the middle, and bring up the rear, a Soyuz.

  5. So excited to see the December 3rd launch and then the docking at ISS. Having a family member, as part of the crew, adds to the excitement. It will be an interesting six months experiencing through crew members daily life, experiments and space exploration. Travel safe.

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