Soyuz MC-17 manned spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome

Today's launch of a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

It was at 1.45 a.m. EDT Wednesday when NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov were transported to the ISS aboard a Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft.

IMAGESRussia's Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut on board blasts off to the International Space Station from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

A Soyuz rocket on Wednesday blasted off carrying two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut. The trio is heading for the base about a month before SpaceX's next crew dragon launch, which will carry another four astronauts on the ISS in mid-November.

At 10:45 a.m. local time, a Soyuz rocket blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia's sprawling and remote space launch facility in Kazakhstan, to the International Space Station. These are the first three members of what will be the seven-member Expedition 64 crew, which will work aboard the International Space Station until April 2021. "During all communications with crew members, we were wearing masks".

Roscosmos confirmed the successful docking of the Soyuz spacecraft in a tweet.

To date, only one Progress unmanned cargo spacecraft has used this profile, which requires only two orbits before docking.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft docked at the ISS
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft docked at the ISS

When NASA retired the USA space shuttle program in 2011, it was left entirely dependent on purchasing rides from Russian Federation - a transaction that has subsidized Russia's launch efforts for a decade.

Rogozin, now the head of Roscosmos, said at a space conference on Monday: "In our view the Gateway in its current form is too US -centric ... so will most likely refrain from large-scale participation in [the project]". Roscosmos does this by launching its Soyuz rocket just prior to the ISS passing directly overhead.

Soyuz is scheduled to take off from the Baikonur Cosmo Drom in Kazakhstan at 1:45 AM on Wednesday.

According to an article by NASA, the Expedition 64 crew will actually conduct research especially in tech development, biology, Earth science, human research, and even more.

In 2016, Rubins sequenced DNA in space for the first time.

And while NASA won't be paying for seats on Soyuz for the foreseeable future, that doesn't necessarily mean NASA astronauts won't ever hitch a ride aboard these rockets ever again. However, NASA has not yet announced such a deal, so it is unclear when the next American astronauts will fly aboard the Soyuz after performing this mission.


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