Four years after his first flight to the International Space Station, a NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will return to space today (October 14).
Today at 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT), the astronaut from Expedition 64 Rubins will fly to the space station aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft taking off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, along with cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Soon after arriving at the station, Rubins will greet the SpaceX crew on board and celebrate the history of the space station.
You can watch Rubins and her crews start live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of NASA TV. Starting coverage will begin at 1
Connected: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will vote from space
“I’m getting excited,” Rubins told Space.com before the upcoming flight. “We’ve just finished our final exams before space flight, and it’s a little hard to think of anything but exams when you’re preparing for them.”
But, she added, “now that we’ve overcome them, I’m really happy to start and go back into space.”
The launch of Rubins could mark the last time a NASA astronaut flew into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, as opportunities for a commercial launch by a US crew grew rapidly. Last May, for example, SpaceX launched its Demo-2 mission with a crew that sent two NASA astronauts to the space station aboard Crew Dragon’s car. The first fully operational mission of the SpaceX crew, Crew-1, will launch four astronauts this falland Rubins will be on the space station to meet these space pilots on board.
“I think I think it’s incredibly exciting,” Rubins said. “I’m really happy to welcome the first operational vehicle of the commercial crew, not only because it’s such an important moment in the commercial crew, but I have really good friends in this vehicle. So I can’t wait to see them hit the hatch.”
“I think we will always have this amazing partnership; we have international partners around the world,” she added. “The [NASA] The commercial crew program simply allows us to have more of a presence on the space station, but that doesn’t mean the end of the partnership. So we will constantly work with our partners around the world. This is one of the strengths of the space station. “
In addition to being probably the last NASA astronaut to fly Soyuz into space, Rubins will also be part of the space station’s history, as the orbital laboratory will celebrate its 20th anniversary during its stay. human presence. Rubins will also vote from space, as NASA astronauts launching with Crew-1 could. (Crew 1 will take off no earlier than “early to mid-November,” according to NASA officials.)
Science in space
During this upcoming mission, Rubins, a microbiologist who was the first person to sequence DNA in space, will work on a series of experiments. She will participate in a cardiovascular investigation and experiment with Laboratory for cold atom, a tool that researchers use to study how atoms behave, and more.
“I’m really looking forward to some of the living cell experiments,” Rubins said. “We did some research last time where we cultured heart cells. Some of the things we’re looking at now are, can you look at tissue architecture, the things that make up organs in space? Can we cultivate things that look more like human organs?” Can we build delicate tissue structures in space? “
“I’m also very interested, of course, in the microbiome of the space station,” she said, adding that they are working on “mapping the entire microbiome of the space station, which has been separated from Earth for 20 years … I think whatever. whatever the outcome, it will be incredibly exciting. “
Rubins and its astronaut crew are expected to board the space station at 4:52 a.m. EDT, and the hatch between the space station and the capsule will open at 6:45 a.m. EDT (1045 GMT).
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