Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Trio of astronauts blast off to international space station

Trio of astronauts blast off to international space station

Three astronauts will launch towards the International Space Station Wednesday morning. In February this year, Elon Musk successfully launched his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft lifted off at 11:12 UTC (17:12 in Kazakhstan) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The White House said earlier in 2018 that it would end direct funding of the orbiting outpost by 2025, a position that raised fierce opposition among some lawmakers.

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The three astronauts will join Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, who are now on the station.

NASA TV will feature live streaming coverage of the docking process, as well as the hatch opening and welcoming process, beginning at 8:15 a.m. Friday.

"Highlights of upcoming investigations include a new facility to study ultra-cold quantum gases, the first commercial European facility to conduct microgravity research, and a system that uses surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid separation", NASA said.

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While at the ISS, the crew will continue working on experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

This crew continues the long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximise time dedicated to research on the space station.

The capsule has already made several trips to and from the space station, taking supplies and other cargo.

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When given the choice of humans or robots in future NASA space expeditions, 58 percent of American adults believe that human astronauts are essential, while 41 percent say that humans are not essential to these types of missions. Gerst is the only astronaut of the mission that had participated in a space mission in 2014.

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