The International Space Station (ISS) has just received its new crew members that will stay on the orbiting laboratory for the next few months. They are NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, and JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi.
The three launched last Wednesday and arrived on Saturday, July 9, at 2.26am EDT (7.26am BST). They traveled to the station on Russia’s new Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft, an upgraded version of the previous Soyuz vehicle. On the ISS, they join Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, as well as Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.
Their mission will be part of Expedition 48 and 49 on the ISS. The three new crew members will remain on the ISS until late October, while the other three will depart in September.
So, who are the new arrivals? Well, let’s take a look.
A stunning shot of photographers snapping the Soyuz launch on Wednesday. NASA/Bill Ingalls
Kathleen “Kate” Rubins, aged 37, became a NASA astronaut in July 2009. Born in Connecticut, US, she is a microbiologist by trade but is now undertaking her first mission to space, where she will perform the first DNA sequencing on the ISS. Rubins is the 60th woman to go to space; when she was born, only one – the Soviet Union’s Valentina Tereshkova – had done so.
Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, meanwhile, is slightly more experienced. This is his second flight to the ISS, having traveled on Expedition 29/30 in 2011 and 2012. He officially became a cosmonaut in 2005, having trained since 2003, and has a background in the military as a pilot. Aged 47, he was born in Irkutsk, Russia, on January 15, 1969.
For Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi (aged 40), like Rubins, this is also his first flight. Selected in 2009, he was born on December 22, 1975, in Tokyo, Japan. The former pilot is the 11th Japanese astronaut to go to space, and on the ISS he will conduct research inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory, alongside other tasks.
Interestingly, we are moving towards the end of the period where the ISS only has six crew members. Next year, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is expected to take its first astronauts – and eventually, it will take four people on each flight, increasing the capacity of the station to seven (alongside three on a Soyuz spacecraft).
Above, the three new crew on the ISS join their new colleagues. NASA TV