It has been a number of months since the failed Soyuz launch obstructed plans for astronaut Nick Haag and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to go to the International Space Station, but they finally made it to their original destination. In a launch late Thursday, both Ovchinin and The Hague led the ISS with the first time space traveler Christina Koch.
A few hours after the launch, the Soyuz launched the spacecraft trio with the space station, which means that the ISS population regains their typical crew number at six. The newly arrived researchers will spend about the next six months in space.
NASA is delighted to have their new astronauts aboard the space station and briefly summarized the workings of the crew:
The crew members will spend more than six months by conducting approximately 250 scientific studies in areas such as biology, earth science, human research, physics, and technological development. Seventy-five of the investigations are new and have never been done in space. Some of the surveys are sponsored by the US National Laboratory at the Space Station, which was named in 2005 to maximize its use to improve the quality of life on Earth.
Being sent into space is something that only a very small percentage of people have ever had the privilege of experiencing, but the crew of the ISS is not there for pleasure. Many of the experiments performed on the spacecraft provide useful information for scientific initiatives on Earth, as well as future missions that will go deeper into space.
Later this month, the new ISS resident Christina Koch will be part of the first female spacewalk when she and other NASA astronaut Anne McClain leave the ship to perform a variety of tasks and experiments.