NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy Heading To International Space Station On Thursday


NASA is gearing up to send astronaut Chris Cassidy to the International Space Station on Thursday, April 9. Cassidy will be joined by two Russian astronauts of the Roscosmos space agency, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The space agency said that the NASA Television and the official website will be covering the crew's launch live, including the arrival at ISS.

NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy Heading To ISS On Thursday


The astronaut trio will be lifting off aboard the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:05 PM Kazakhstan time. The launch of the spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the station's Zvezda service module at 10:16 AM. Once docked, the hatches between the Soyuz and the space station will be opened after roughly two hours.

The upcoming trip to space will be the third flight for Cassidy and Ivanishin and the first for Vagner. The four-orbit journey is expected to last for six hours. Once docked, the astronauts will be joining the Expedition 62 Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and NASA Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir.

The current NASA astronauts in ISS Morgan and Meir will be completing their station mission and will return to the Earth on April 17 via the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, which will land in Kazakhstan. Going into their details, Morgan set off on July 20, 2019, for an extended duration mission. Meir and Skripochka launched to the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 25, 2019.

NASA further explains that the soon-to-takeoff astronauts Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Vagner will become part of the Expedition 62 crew. Also, Cassidy will become Expedition 63 commander upon the departure of Skripochka, Morgan, and Meir. The change of command ceremony is scheduled for April 15, a few days before they head back to Earth.

This also means that the crew members of Expedition 63 will be onboard to welcome NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The most important aspect of Behnken and Hurley's trip to ISS will be flying aboard the SpaceX Demo-2 flight test, currently targeted to launch no earlier than mid-to-late May.

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