The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan is scheduled for 1:45 a.m. Wednesday and will be broadcast live on NASA’s website. The trio’s Soyuz capsule is expected to attach to the space station at 4:52 a.m. ET, and the hatch between the space station and the capsule will open at 6:45 a.m. ET, allowing them to enter the station.
This is the second space flight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov and they will spend six months on the space station.
Rubins, Rizhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will briefly overlap with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Wagner. Cassidy, Ivanishin and Wagner will leave the station with the Soyuz docking capsule and return to Earth on October 21
The second time
Rubins will vote in the US presidential election from the space station, according to NASA. In fact, he is voting for the second time from space. She voted in the 2016 election during her first six-month stay on the space station between July and October 2016.
But training and launching during a pandemic is a new experience for Rubins – although it feels good with personal protective equipment because of “its old life”, she told CNN in September. Before becoming an astronaut, she was a scientist who studied viral diseases, cancer biology, microbiology and immunology.
“I started preparing for this before the pandemic during normal crew training,” she said. “When NASA stopped, I learned how to train remotely with video and software. I never thought I would train for space flight during a pandemic or do space walking training from my living room.”
Eventually, Rubins managed to return to training in person in Texas and Russia, along with his Russian crews, while keeping his distance from each other and wearing masks.
Returning to the space station will allow Rubins to check out some items on his bucket list.
She was the first person to sequence DNA in space in 2016, and she looks forward to continuing her sequencing research in new ways by studying the microbiome or microbial environment of the space station.
“The space station has been separated from Earth for 20 years,” Rubins said. “How is it different? The space station is its own biome with its own resources, as people come and go. We want to see what these closed environments do when they’ve been separate for a long time.”
DNA sequencing can reveal vast amounts of information, Rubins said, so applying sequencing to a station’s microbiome can reveal a microbial picture of the space station – and how it differs from Earth. This is a huge opportunity that may not reappear because nothing has been isolated from Earth for 20 years.
Rubins is eager to use the sequence to push the boundaries of what they can do on the space station, as well as to participate in cell culture research. After her previous stay on board, there are new high-resolution microscopes that she can use to examine cells.
“This time it’s all on my bucket list,” Rubins said. “Waiting for me to return for a few years, the station has new equipment that will allow me to do all these things.”
Its upcoming mission will include conducting research using the cold atomic laboratory at the atomic research station, as well as a cardiovascular experiment, followed by an investigation she worked on during her first space flight, according to NASA.
The 20th anniversary of the space station’s continued human presence occurs on November 1 during Rubins’ second six-month mission.
“It’s so exciting – we’re in this wonderful time in the history of space station operation for 20 years,” she said. “Inside this incredibly capable orbital laboratory, we can do all sorts of experiments, including physics, looking at particles and quantum mechanics, biological experiments, printing organs with tissue-like structures, and all the way to human physiology.”
Rubins is also looking forward to the video that the astronauts are making with students on Earth, which she calls one of the “highlights of the station.” She hopes to connect remotely to the classrooms and answer students’ questions.
“It’s amazing to have this human connection,” she said. “I know a lot of kids are fighting at home, so hopefully we can bring some joy to talk about space.”
During their stay, these astronauts will be joined by the SpaceX Crew-1 flight, bringing the total astronauts to the station to seven.
Crew-1 will transport four more astronauts to the space station through the agency’s commercial crew program: NASA astronauts Victor Glover Jr., Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi.
Crew-1 goes through systematic inspections on Earth. It has more capabilities than Endeavor and will be able to climb to the top of the space station.
NASA is currently planning a launch by early mid-November.
This will allow additional time for SpaceX to complete the data reviews and hardware testing monitored by the Falcon 9 gas generators from the first stage. They demonstrated “unusual behavior” during a recent attempt to launch a mission outside NASA, the agency said.
“It will be amazing to have seven people on the space station,” Rubins said. “It’s designed to handle that. We’ve been preparing for this over the last few years by improving carbon dioxide purification and testing new research technology. Seven crew members allow us to test new atmosphere revitalization and new spacesuit components.” We can really increase our scientific results. “