Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off

Fischer and Yurchikhin are scheduled to remain aboard the station until September, NASA stated.

The International Space Station is the largest structure in space ever built by humans.

Taking off from the same launch pad that Yuri Gagarin used to become the first man in space, the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft thundered to life at 3:13:44 a.m. EDT (GMT-4; 1:13 p.m. local time), roughly the moment Earth's rotation carried the rocket into the plane of the space station's orbit.

Yurchikhin and Fischer's mission at the station lasts until September.

The US astronaut and 58-year-old Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin are joining the crew of the ISS.

The other notable aspect of Thursday's launch is the size of the crew-two rather than three. Instead of landing with Novitskiy and Pesquet in July as first planned, she will take the open seat on Soyuz MS-04 and return home with Fischer and Yurchikhin after serving on Expeditions 50, 51, and 52.

The crew's unofficial patch - or rather, patches - directly mimic the two designs of the USA and Russian insignia for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. That day, Whitson will break the American record for most cumulative days in space. Created with the assistance of Houston-based artist Blake Dumesnil, the primary patch keeps the general placement and look of the Soyuz on the Robert McCall-derived 1975 patch, but replaces the Apollo spacecraft with the International Space Station.

And on Monday, President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, will call the space station to speak to astronaut and space station Commander Peggy Whitson, as well as Fischer. Station commander Peggy Whitson, 57, in the midst of her third long-duration mission, is due on Monday to beat the 534-day record for cumulative time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut.

On May 12, Whitson and Fischer plan to carry out a spacewalk that originally was planned earlier this year.

A two-man U.S./Russian crew floated into the International Space Station today, hours after they blasted from earth to space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The crew is also scheduled to receive a resupply mission, carrying tons of food, fuel and research equipment.

US astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station.

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