Astronaut and Cosmonaut Launch to Space Station on Russian Soyuz

An wanderer and a cosmonaut launched on a initial two-person spaceflight in 14 years, firm for a 5-month stay on a International Space Station.

Astronaut Jack Fischer with NASA and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos lifted off on Russia’s Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft, atop a Soyuz-FG rocket, from a Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan during 3:13 a.m. EDT (0713 GMT; 1:13 p.m. internal time) Thursday (April 20). Launched on a “fast-track,” six-orbit rendezvous, they are set to wharf a Soyuz during a station’s Poisk procedure during 9:23 a.m. EDT (1323 GMT).

Once aboard a orbital laboratory, Fischer and Yurchikhin will turn partial of a Expedition 51 crew, fasten NASA’s Peggy Whitson, cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, and European Space Agency (ESA) wanderer Thomas Pesquet, who arrived during a space station in November. [In Photos: Expedition 51 Mission to a Space Station]

Fischer and Yurchikhin were creatively indifferent in 2015 to fly with a third organisation member, ESA’s Paolo Nespoli, though a preference by Roscosmos to revoke a fortuitous from 3 to dual cosmonauts until a multipurpose lab procedure (MLM) Nauka is prepared to launch in 2018 resulted in report and chair changes. (Nespoli will react Fischer and Yurchikhin in July, when he launches as partial of a three-member Soyuz MS-05 organisation to staff Expedition 52.)

“We are carrying some load adult to a hire in that third seat,” pronounced Fischer in a press discussion on Wednesday (April 19). “I know we pronounce for Fyodor when we contend if we could figure out how to fit [our wives] Larisa and Elizabeth in that seat, that is who we would take with us.”

Expedition 51 crewmembers Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos (left) and Jack Fischer of NASA (right) answer questions from a press during a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Facility in Star City, Russia. The Mar 31, 2017 talk took place during a Soyuz booster mockup on day dual of a final gift exams for a astronauts.
Credit: Rob Navias/NASA

The final time that a two-person organisation carried off for a space hire was in Apr 2003, when Ed Lu with NASA and Yuri Malenchenko with Roscosmos launched on Soyuz TMA-2 to turn a Expedition 7 organisation in a arise of a detriment of a space convey Columbia dual months earlier.

Like Malenchenko and Lu, who returned with a third organisation member (ESA’s Pedro Duque), Fischer and Yurchikhin are slated to land in Sep with their dull chair filled.

Whitson, who on Monday (April 24) will transcend a record for a many time spent in space by an American wanderer — 534 days and counting, in a march of her 3 flights — recently had her possess stay extended. Instead of alighting with Novitskiy and Pesquet in Jul as initial planned, she will take a open chair on Soyuz MS-04 and lapse home with Fischer and Yurchikhin after portion on Expeditions 50, 51, and 52.

During Expeditions 51 and 52, Fischer and Yurchikhin will assistance with hundreds of experiments and manage a attainment and depart of Russian and U.S. visiting vehicles — a initial of which, Orbital ATK’s S.S. John Glenn Cygnus load freighter, is set to berth during a space hire on Saturday (April 22).

For Yurchikhin, this outlines his fifth launch to space, carrying logged a sum of 537 days on one space convey goal in 2002 and 3 long-duration missions on a International Space Station in 2007, 2010 and 2013. When he lands on Earth during a finish of this flight, Yurchikhin will arrange seventh in a universe for time in space, only forward of Whitson.

Sunlight glints off a International Space Station.

Sunlight glints off a International Space Station.

Fischer, whose nickname “2fish” came from his former Air Force squadron carrying another man named Fischer (as in a Dr. Seuss book, “One Fish, Two Fish…”), is on his initial moody given being comparison as a NASA wanderer in 2009. He is a 550th chairman in story to fly into Earth orbit.

Fischer and Yurchikhin were a initial to accept accede from Roscosmos to name their Soyuz — “Argo.”

“It came from a Argonauts, a naval explorers [from Greek mythology] and we are a explorers of space,” pronounced Yurchikhin, whose call pointer for a moody is “Olympus.”

Fischer and Yurchikhin also any comparison dolls to act as their ship’s zero-g indicators. Yurchikhin flew a tiny white plush dog for a fifth time and a span of Russian animation characters. Fischer chose a multi-color sun-shaped trademark of a MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where one of his dual daughters perceived treatment.

Soyuz MS-04 is a 50th Soyuz to fly to a International Space Station given 2000 and 133rd given a initial moody of Russia’s Soyuz-class of booster in 1967.

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