This morning, the Soyuz MS-09 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading to the International Space Station carrying three new crew members—NASA Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA), and Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Expedition 56-57 crew is now in orbit and is anticipated to reach the ISS on Friday.
The new crew members will replace the three Expedition 55 crew members, including NASA Astronaut Scott Tingle, who safely returned to Earth on Sunday after spending 168 days in orbit. During their time onboard the ISS, the Expedition 55 crew members carried out hundreds of experiments, including materials testing using the Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) and plant biology research using the Veggie PONDS plant growth hardware. As part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, the crew participated in many educational activities. The crew was also onboard the space station for the arrival of several resupply missions, including SpaceX CRS-13 in December, SpaceX CRS-14 in April, and Orbital ATK CRS-9 in May.