On July 28 at 11:41 am a trio of astronauts has been carried into the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft to the International Space Station. The launching took place in Kazakhstan and broadcasted by NASA.
The astronauts are Paolo Nespoli, from the European Space Agency, Sergey Ryazanskiyfrom Roscosmos, the Russian space agency and Randy Bresnikfrom the U.S. NASA.
The astronauts reached the station at 6 p.m. ET and joined a crew that was already aboard the International Space Station, which is a U.S. lab worth $ 100 billion. The station flies above Earth at 400 km distance. The whole launch and docking have been sent to NASA for updates and can be watched on the internet.
They have been sent out there to help with medical experiments and other research or technology demonstration, hoping they will double the research time.
At the end of 2018, NASA plans on sending astronauts aboard other spaceships such as a space taxi which is developed by Boeing and SpaceX. The spaceships have four seats instead of the 3 seats provided by a spacecraft.
With the intention of preparing missions to the moon and to Mars, NASA plans to encourage pharmaceutical research, commercial space transport or other businesses.
Since 2000 NASA has switched crews in order to conduct Earth science investigations that also regarded astronomy and physics.
The three astronauts are veterans. Paolo Nespoli, who is 60 years old, is on his third flight, previously being on both a space shuttle and space station crew. Sergey Ryazanskiy (42 years old) spent from 2013 to 2014 five and a half months on the station and Randy Bresnik, who is 49 years old, flew in 2009 on the space shuttle.
After the crew has conducted their experiments in biology, physical and Earth science and biotechnology on the International Space Station, they will return after almost five months to Earth, in December.