Russian Soyuz Spacecraft to carry three astronauts to International Space Station

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Bresnik, the first alumnus of The Citadel to fly in space, will command NASA's 53rd expedition aboard the station after first serving as flight engineer during the second part of Expedition 52.

The new ISS crew members are safely in the orbit after the launch and will travel for six hours in the spacecraft before docking to the space station's Rassvet module at 6 pm. The duo are scheduled to blast off at 11:41 a.m. EDT. Ryazansky, who is from Russian Federation, is the most experienced one among the three.

The Citadel also will stream the launch on its Facebook page. Randy Bresnik will set off for the International Space Station on Friday. Nespoli is an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The trio will join the Expedition 52 crew, which includes Peggy Whitson (NASA) of Iowa, Fyodor Yurchikhin (Roscosmos) from the country of Georgia and Jack Fischer (NASA) of Colorado. While they're there, they'll spend many hours in the weightless laboratories, conducting a variety of science experiments related to biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

NASA will start sending astronauts up to the station using ships developed by SpaceX and Boeing by the end of next year.

NASA shared a video of the crew as they reached orbit. Talking about Bresnik, he had earlier spent 10 days in the space in 2009 when he was on a mission.

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