Published: Sat, July 29, 2017
Science | By Nancy Frank

Soyuz space capsule carrying 3 astronauts blasts off to orbiting lab

Soyuz space capsule carrying 3 astronauts blasts off to orbiting lab

This morning, a trio of astronauts will make their way to the International Space Station, launching on top of a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan.

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The Expedition 52 and 53 crew members will spend four months together on the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth. This new crew will remain at the space station until mid-December, according to NASA.The three new arrivals will participate in many research projects, including a phenomenon that is perhaps of special interest to the astronauts already in orbit: the "puffy face" appearance that astronauts have in microgravity. He was selected as an astronaut in 2004.

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NASA's Randy Bresnik, Russia's Sergei Ryazansky and Italy's Paolo Nespoli blasted off from the Russia-leased launch pad in Kazakhstan at 21:41 p.m. Friday. Bresnik, Ryazanskiy and Nespoli are expected to reach the space station at 6 p.m. ET. This is Whitson's third long-duration stay on the International Space Station - she will have spent more than 650 days in space by the time she returns to Earth in September. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy first trained for space flights as the commander of a crew during Russia's 105-day Mars500 isolation experiment in 2009. The previous launch in April was also carried out on the basis of a shortened scheme while another three previous flights of Soyuz MS spacecraft were performed using a two-day scheme as they were conducted in a test mode.

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