Today at 4:25 EDT, three astronauts will be launching into space via a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan and head to the International Space Station. NASA’s Barry Wilmore will travel with Russia’s Aleksandr Samokutyayev and Yelena Serova, and they will join Maksim Surayev, Gregory Wiseman, and Alexander Gerst for Expedition 41. They will remain onboard through Expedition 42, where Wilmore will act as ISS Commander. In total, they will spend 168 days in space.
Wilmore previously piloted the Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-129 and served as the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) during the final shuttle mission in 2011. Samokutyayev served aboard the ISS during Expeditions 27/28. This will be the first trip to space for cosmonaut Yelena Serova.
During their tenure in space, the crew will perform a series of experiments delivered by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft earlier this week. A few of the experiments will include deploying the SpinSat, which will test a new propulsion system for small satellites. They will also begin testing the 3D printer, to see if it would be feasible for astronauts to produce their own replacement parts. Additionally, they will be hosting 20 mousetronauts (which really isn’t as exciting as space sex geckos, but is still pretty darn cool).
NASA will be broadcasting the launch live, and you can tune in right here. The broadcast will begin at 3:30 pm EDT, and liftoff is set for 4:25 pm EDT.