NASA Crewed Soyuz Mission to International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome to Launch Dec. 8

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A veteran Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese private citizens are set to launch to the International Space Station on Wednesday, Dec. 8, and return to Earth on Sunday, Dec. 19. (NASA image)

(NASA) – A veteran Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese private citizens are set to launch to the International Space Station on Wednesday, Dec. 8, and return to Earth on Sunday, Dec. 19.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will join spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano on the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:38 a.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 8 (12:38 p.m. Baikonur time).

Launch, docking, and return activities will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

After a four-orbit, six-hour journey, the Soyuz will dock to the station’s Poisk module at 8:41 a.m. About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the crew members will greet each other.

Once on station, the trio will join Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, as well as NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, for approximately 12 days on the orbital laboratory.

On Sunday, Dec. 19, Misurkin, Maezawa, and Hirano will complete their mission, undocking the Soyuz from the Poisk module before heading for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 10:18 p.m. EST (9:18 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, Kazakhstan time).

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