Nearly nine minutes after a successful launch at 3:42 a.m. EDT of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos safely reached orbit. They have begun a two-orbit, three-hour flight to reach the International Space Station and join the Expedition 64 crew. At the time of launch, the station was flying about 259 miles over northern Uzbekistan, 335 miles behind the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.
This is the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov. They will dock the Soyuz to the station’s Rassvet module at 7:07 a.m. Coverage of the docking will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website, and the NASA app at 6:15 a.m.
About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and they will join NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, who arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in October 2020, and the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience – NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi – who have been in orbit since November.
For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.