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NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is ready for a second trip to the space station

The launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan is scheduled for 1:45 am ET on Wednesday and will be streamed live on the NASA website. The trio’s Soyuz capsule is expected to dock with the space station at 4:52 am ET, and the hatch between the space station and the capsule will open at 6:45 am ET, allowing them to enter the station.

This is the second space flight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov, and they will spend six months on the space station.

Although NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were successfully launched on the station in May from the United States aboard the SpaceX Endeavor, the launches to the space station of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft will still continue in the part of Kazakhstan leased to Russia.

Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov will briefly overlap NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner will leave the station using the docked Soyuz capsule and return to Earth on 21


The second time

Rubins will vote in the US presidential election from the space station, according to NASA. In fact, it’s his second time he’s been voting from space. He voted in the 2016 election during his first six-month stay on the space station between July and October 2016.

But training and launching during a pandemic is a new experience for Rubins – even though he’s comfortable with personal protective equipment due to his “old life,” he told CNN in September. Before becoming an astronaut, she was a scientist who studied viral diseases, cancer biology, microbiology and immunology.

“I started preparing for this before the pandemic during normal crew training,” he said. “When NASA closed, I learned how to train remotely using video and software. I never thought I’d train for spaceflight during a pandemic or train for spacewalk from my living room.”

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Eventually Rubins managed to return to training in person in Texas and Russia along with her Russian teammates, all while keeping distance from each other and wearing masks.

Returning to the space station will allow Rubins to check out some items from his wish list.

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She was the first person to sequence DNA in space in 2016 and looks forward to continuing her research on sequencing in new ways by studying the space station’s microbiome, or microbial environment.

“The space station has been separated from Earth for 20 years,” Rubins said. “How is it different? The space station is its own biome with its own resources, with humans coming and going. We want to see what these enclosed environments do when they have been separated for a long time.”

DNA sequencing can reveal huge amounts of information, Rubins said, so applying sequencing to the station’s microbiome can reveal a microbial picture of the space station and how it differs from Earth. It’s a huge opportunity that may not come back because nothing has ever been isolated from Earth for 20 years.

Rubins is eager to use the sequence to push the limits of what they can do on the space station, as well as being involved in cell culture studies. Since his previous stay on the station, there are new high-resolution microscopes aboard that he can use to study cells.

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“This time around, it’s all on my wish list,” Rubins said. “Looking forward to coming back for a few years, there are new equipment on the station that will allow me to do all of these things.”

His next mission will include conducting research using the station’s Cold Atom Laboratory to study atoms, as well as a cardiovascular experiment that follows an investigation he worked on during his first space flight, according to NASA.

Space milestone

The 20th anniversary of a continuing human presence on the space station occurs on November 1 at the start of Rubins’ second six-month mission.

“It’s so exciting – we are at this wonderful time in the history of space station operations for 20 years,” he said. “Within this incredibly capable orbiting laboratory, we can do all kinds of experiments, including physics, observing particles and quantum mechanics, biology experiments, printing organs with tissue-like structures and down to human physiology.”

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Rubins is also eager to see the downlink video conducted by the astronauts with the students on Earth, what she calls one of the “highlights of the station”. He hopes to remotely connect with the classrooms and answer student questions.

“It’s amazing to have that human connection,” he said. “I know a lot of kids are struggling at home, so let’s hope we can bring some joy to talking about space exploration.”

Sold out

During their stay, these astronauts will also be joined by the SpaceX Crew-1 flight, bringing the total astronauts on the station to seven.

Crew-1 will transport four other astronauts to the space station through the agency’s commercial crew program: NASA astronauts Victor Glover Jr., Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi.

Crew-1 is conducting system checks on Earth. It has more capabilities than Endeavor and will be able to dock on the space station.

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Currently, NASA is aiming for an early to mid-November launch.

This will allow SpaceX more time to complete data reviews and observed hardware tests of the Falcon 9 first stage engine’s gas generators. They exhibited “non-rated behavior” during a recent attempt to launch a non-NASA mission, he said. the agency.

“It’s going to be amazing to have seven people on the space station,” Rubins said. “It’s designed to handle this. We’ve been preparing for it in recent years by improving carbon scrubbing and testing new technologies for exploration. Seven crew members aboard allow us to test the new atmosphere revitalization and new space suit components. We can really increase our scientific output. “

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