Three ISS crew members NASA — astronaut Tim Kopra, Ukrainian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and first-time British astronaut Tim Peake — recently returned from their space station tours aboard a Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft. Now, new crewmembers Anatoly Ivanishin, Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are headed to the orbiting space lab after another Russian Soyuz launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 9:37 p.m. July 6 EDT (7:37 a.m. July 7 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, time).
Their journey will take more than two days. The new crewmembers are scheduled to reach the multinational space station by 12:12 a.m. EDT July 9.
Ivanishin is Russian, Rubins is American and Onishi is Japanese. The trio will join ISS Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Russian space agency Roscosmos.
SpaceX and Boeing hold contracts to begin transporting astronauts to the space station in coming years. That will end a reliance on Russian launches for such crew shuttles during the past several years.
The first commercial crew shuttle could come as soon as late 2017.