Soyuz spacecraft lifts new crew to space station

Pablo Tucker
September 13, 2017

The spaceship is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station at 10:57pm EDT, where the three new members will join Expedition 53 commander NASA's Randy Bresnik, cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:17, CDT.

NASA officials said in a statement that they are going to: "Perform hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science".

This is Mr Vande Hei's first time in space, whereas Mr Acaba and Mr Misurkin have flown to the space station before.

The space station is the only permanently occupied laboratory in space. Margaret's High School in St. Louis Park in 1985 and then St. John's in Collegeville in 1989, with a degree in physics. His parents now live in Chanhassen.

The other American astronaut, Vande Hei, had no space experience before the Wednesday flight.

Vande Hei said he's happy to be part of a "peaceful endeavour that could actually help out all of humanity".

Heading for a five-month mission, as it launched, a translator for Russia's Mission Control Centre in Moscow announced that "everything is nominal on board [and] the crew is doing fine", during the live broadcast. "My attitude about that was that it would have been like saying I wanted to be Spider-Man", said Vande Hei in a video released by NASA prior to the launch. "I certainly thought it was cool, but I don't remember feeling like that was a possibility for me". Among that trio was NASA's Peggy Whitson, who wrapped up a record-breaking flight that catapulted her to first place for US space endurance. Whitson grew up on a farm outside the south-central Iowa town of Beaconsfield.

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