The Soyuz rocket launched at 6:12 a.m. from a facility in Kazakhstan. Aunon-Chancellor took off from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, along with Sergey Prokopyev of Russian Federation, who works for Roscosmos, and Alexander Gerst of Germany, who works for the European Space Agency.
NASA will launch a new rotation of crew members to the International Space Station Wednesday morning.
The manned spacecraft subsequently entered the near-Earth orbit and started its autonomous flight to the orbital outpost, Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos told TASS.
NASA TV will feature live streaming coverage of the docking process, as well as the hatch opening and welcoming process, beginning at 8:15 a.m. Friday.
A faster 4-orbit/6-hour or a 2-orbit/3-hour journey is usually possible, but space station positioning requirements to ensure a daytime landing for the departing Soyuz MS-07 crew earlier in the week prevented the possibility of a quicker trip for the new crew, SpaceFlight.com reported.
A fun fact for Michiganders is that with Expedition 55 leaving the space station, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos handed control of the space station over to NASA astronaut, and MI native, Andrew J. Feustel. The three arriving astronauts will remain aboard until December. Over this period, the crewmembers will be working with the Progress MS and US Dragon resupply ships, performing a program of applied researches and experiments and carrying out spacewalks (specifically, work outside the space station under the Russian program is scheduled for August 8).