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ISS Crew Increment with Two Radio Amateurs Launched and Now in Orbit


NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, KG5FYJ, astronaut Takuya Onishi, KF5LKS, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos launched early on July 7 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and now are in Earth orbit. Their eventual destination is the International Space Station (ISS).

An upgraded Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft on its maiden voyage carried Rubins, Onishi, and Ivanishin into space. The crew will test modified systems for a couple of days — 34 Earth orbits — before docking with the ISS Rassvet module on July 9. According to NASA, the modified Soyuz is equipped with upgraded thrusters that are fully redundant, additional micrometeoroid debris shielding, redundant electrical motors for the Soyuz docking probe, and increased power with more photovoltaic cells on the spacecraft’s solar arrays. This week’s launch marked the first of at least two missions in which enhanced Soyuz hardware will be tested and verified.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, of NASA, and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka, RN3FU, and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will greet their new crewmates, once the hatches between the Soyuz and the ISS have been opened. The Expedition 48 crew members will continue experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science.

Rubins, Onishi, and cosmonaut Ivanishin will replace Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra, KE5UDN; Flight Engineer Tim Peake, KG5BVI/GB1SS, and Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, who returned to Earth in mid-June after a little more than 6 months in space.

The trio will spend approximately 4 months on station and will return to Earth in October. Williams, Skripochka, and Ovchinin will return to Earth in September.



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