On Thursday, Australian time, a multinational crew including NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and the first space traveller from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is scheduled to launch to the ISS.
Meir, Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the UAE are set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, with the four-orbit, six-hour journey the third spaceflight for Skripochka and the first for Meir and Almansoori.
Almansoori is flying on an eight-day mission as a spaceflight participant under a contract between the UAE and Roscosmos.
About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the new residents will be greeted by station commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.
Their arrival will increase the orbiting laboratory’s population to nine people until 3 October, when Hague and Ovchinin, who are completing a mission of more than 200 days, will return to Earth with Almansoori on the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft. Meir and Skripochka will spend more than six months on the station.
The crew will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.
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