New Russian rocket launches first crew member for International Space Station

A powerful Russian rocket carrying a new version of the Soyuz capsule blasted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome on Wednesday morning in a voyage that will bring a new crew member to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft is scheduled to dock at the space station three days later. The Soyuz crew will bring back two former crew members — American Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui — as well as a cosmonaut from the Russian side.

The crew will install life support systems and open the Surgut-15 self-clean kitchen module on the International Space Station as part of a seven-day mission, Russian news agencies reported. The experiment will test the effectiveness of the system that uses ultraviolet light to scrub floating cells and remove food contaminants, Life News reports.

On Friday, the Soyuz crew will begin a flight test in order to demonstrate the use of the launch system to test the capability of the craft to perform emergency abort tests. If a problem occurs during the flight, the Soyuz crew will use the emergency systems in the cabin to land the spacecraft successfully, and on Sunday, the crew will assemble the five modules that make up the cargo module and then attach it to the station.

Both the new crew members and the old members of the space station are scheduled to return to Earth in late September.

Read the full story at CNN.

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