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21 April 2017, 07:14 | Andy Ferguson
A Soyuz space capsule delivered an American astronaut making his first space flight and a veteran Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station on Thursday.
NASA-TV will cover pre-launch, launch, and arrival activities starting on April 19. Once they arrive at the station, they'll join the three astronauts already living in the orbiting lab and will become part of Expedition 51. Once at the station, they will be welcomed by Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson along with Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of European Space Agency.
The US astronaut said he doubted the major task he faces in his 1 trip into space will be learning how to practice the space toilet at zero-gravity.
In an interview, Fischer said he would be "thinking about Dad" as he enters orbit.
Orbital ATK's seventh Cygnus cargo delivery flight to the station - dubbed OA-7 or CRS-7 - launched at 11:11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 18 atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Yurchikhin marks his fifth space launch with this event. Russian Federation last launched a crew of two in 2003, when Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Ed Lu launched to the space station from Kazakhstan.
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The 57-year-old station commander, Peggy Whitson will beat 534 -day record of the USA astronaut for cumulative time spent at the station. Russian Federation is scaling back space station staffing until its long-delayed science laboratory is flown to the orbiting outpost next year.
The three astronauts now at the station have been in space for more than 150 days and are scheduled to return to Earth in June.
Yurchikhin and Fischer face a busy stay in space.
The Soyuz MS-04 Argo has taken off for the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a two-man crew for the first time in over a decade. It travels at a speed of five miles per second (8kps), orbiting Earth every 90 minutes. You don't need a telescope to see it. That day, Whitson will break the American record for most cumulative days in space.
Shortening the rendezvous profile to six hours - just four orbits around Earth - not only offers the benefit of getting a crew to the station more quickly but also helps conserve the spacecraft's limited supply of consumables, such as fuel and oxygen. The previous record of 534 days was held by astronaut Jeff Williams.
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