One American and two Russians traveled to the International Space Station in a Russian capsule on Friday.
NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome and arrived at the station three hours later. O’Hara will be there for six months, while Kononenko and Chub will be there for a year.
Last spring, the three were set to go to the space station, but their original capsule was needed to replace another crew. This crew, which includes two Russians and an American, will return home later this month. When their Soyuz capsule developed a coolant leak while parked at the station, their stay was prolonged from six months to a year.
O’Hara and Chub are making their first spaceflight, while mission commander Kononenko is returning to the orbiting station for the fifth time.
They join seven other station occupants from the United States, Russia, Denmark, and Japan.
Kononenko will have spent over a thousand days in space by the end of his year-long mission, setting a new record.
At 2:53 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft carrying O’Hara, as well as Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub of Roscosmos, docked to the station’s Rassvet module. The docking took place nearly three hours after the crew launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:44 a.m.
When the hatches open at 5:10 p.m., O’Hara, Kononenko, and Chub will join the Expedition 69 crew. O’Hara, who will spend six months aboard the orbital outpost, and Kononenko and Chub, who will each spend a year aboard, will focus on science and research in technology development, Earth science, biology, and human research for the benefit of all. This is O’Hara’s first voyage into space, Kononenko’s eighth, and Chub’s first.
Expedition 70 will launch on September 27th, following the departure of NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin. Rubio recently broke the American record for the longest single spaceflight. Following a year aboard the orbiting laboratory, the trio will return in Kazakhstan on September 27, with Rubio having spent 371 days in space—the longest single trip by a US astronaut.