US, Russian Crew Heads to Space Station

A U.S.-Russian space crew blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) Thursday from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner lifted off as scheduled in a Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft.Russian space officials had taken extra precautions to protect the crew during training and pre-flight preparations following the outbreak of the coronavirus. The usual group of reporters was not present at lift off, though the crew did speak to journalists via video link Wednesday.Cassidy said the crew has been in “a very strict quarantine” for the past month and so are in good health.Later Thursday the crew will dock the Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS station’s Poisk service module. Following about two hours of docking procedures, hatches between the Soyuz craft and the station will open, and the new crew will join Expedition 62 Russian Commander Oleg Skripochka  and NASA Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir.

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