Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige “Neemo” Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and astronaut Scott “Maker” Tingle of NASA launched on board Russia’s Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday (Dec. 17). Their Soyuz FG rocket lifted off from Pad 1/5, also known as “Gagarin’s Start,” at 2:21 a.m. EST (0721 GMT or 1:21 p.m. local Kazakh time).
About 8 minutes and 45 seconds after leaving the ground, the Soyuz entered Earth orbit, beginning a two day journey to the station. Shkaplerov, Kanai and Tingle are scheduled to dock the Soyuz to Russia’s Rassvet module on Tuesday (Dec. 19) at 3:43 a.m. EST (0843 GMT).
Once on board, the three Soyuz MS-07 crewmates will join the station’s 54th contingent, already underway. Expedition 54 commander Alexander Misurkin and his flight engineers Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei have been on the station since Sept. 12.