There soon will be a five-person crew aboard the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin were launched toward the orbiting research laboratory aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EDT April 20 (1:13 p.m. local time).
The pair is expected to dock to the space station by 9:23 a.m. April 21, when they will be welcomed by Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA and flight engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. On April 22, an Orbital Cygnus cargo craft loaded with more than 3 tons of supplies and scientific research materials is expected to dock at the ISS.
The newly bolstered crew at the space station will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science. Fischer is a first-time space flier, while Yurchikhin is a veteran of four spaceflights. The pair will spend more than four months aboard the ISS and are set to return to Earth in early September.