At 3:57 EDT, three astronauts will launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft, bound for the International Space Station, where they will serve as the crew during the Expedition 40/41 missions. Expedition 41 will end in November.
The astronauts heading into space today will be: Reid Wiseman (NASA), Alexander Gerst (ESA), and Maxim Suarev (RKA). They will be joining Steve Swanson (NASA), Alexander Skvortsov (RKA), and Oleg Artemyev (RKA). This is the first trip into space for Wiseman and Gerst, but this will by Suarev's second trip to the ISS. He previously served during Expeditions 21/22 in 2009-2010.
According to the mission summary, during Expedition 40 the astronauts will focus on:
Earth remote sensing, an assessment of human behavior and performance and studies of animal biology and bone and muscle physiology define the research of Expedition 40. Other investigations include technology demonstrations, physical and space sciences and educational activities. Expedition 40 activities will help advance our body of scientific knowledge, leading to potential Earth benefits such as improved weather forecasts and human medical advancements.
Expedition 40 will end in September.
The spacecraft is expected to dock with the ISS about 9:48 pm EDT on Friday, with the hatch expected to open at 11 pm EDT. The coverage will begin at 9 pm EDT.
NASA will be streaming all of the events live today and Fiday, so tune in here: