News Brief: Three spacefliers from three different countries are on their way to the International Space Station for a almost six-month tour of duty after today's launch from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz MS-09 rocket is pictured standing at its launch pad on a clear blue day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The ISS, which is orbiting 400 kilometers above the Earth, is now manned by three astronauts, including two Americans and one Russian.
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The trio only have a total of one previous space mission between them - 42-year-old Gerst's debut mission aboard the ISS was in 2014 - making this one of the less experienced space station crews in recent times.
The Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artiomov once brought this football symbol to the ISS to make World Cup broadcasts and show how astronauts also enjoy the sport and take it to space.
The three astronauts will join Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, who are now on the station. Within a few hours from then, the hatches between the spacecraft and the orbital lab will be opened, allowing the astronauts to join the three Expedition 56 crewmembers who are already onboard. They would be joining the existing crew of three on the station.
This new space mission will last 187 days.
Forty-seven percent say conducting basic scientific research to increase the knowledge of space is top priority, followed by developing technologies that are adaptable for various uses (41 percent), doing research on the effects of space travel on health (38 percent), and searching for materials and resources to be used on Earth (34 percent). She was again rescheduled for the Soyuz MS-09 flight as the original space crew member, astronaut Jeanette Epps, got suddenly eliminated from the Prokopyev-Gerst crew in the month of January.