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Watch Expedition 42/43 Blast Off to ISS Today at 4PM EST [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Watch Expedition 42/43 Blast Off to ISS Today at 4PM EST [Updated]

The second phase of Expedition 42 will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome via Soyuz rocket (above) today at 4:01PM EST. Carrying three astronauts from ESA, NASA, and the Russian Federal Space Agency, the rocket will then rendezvous with the International Space Station about six hours later.

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You can watch the launch live via NASA TV with coverage beginning at 3pm, and you can also watch the crew dock with the space station as well later tonight at 9:53pm. This will be astronaut Terry Virts second trip into space, but unlike his last trip, which only lasted two weeks, Virts will be taking up a more permanent residence for about five and half months. He'll be a flight engineer during the 42 expedition and will be ISS commander during expedition 43.

According to Popular Science, one of the team's goals will be preparing ISS for the new commercial transport vehicles being constructed by Boeing and SpaceX. Boeing's CST-100 Space Capsule and SpaceX's Dragon shared NASA's $6.8 billion space taxi program and is expected to end the U.S.'s reliance on Russia for rides to ISS. Oh, they'll also be bringing an espresso machine.

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Update: You can now watch a replay of the Soyuz launch.

Need another reason to cheer on these astronauts? This picture should suffice:

Illustration for article titled Watch Expedition 42/43 Blast Off to ISS Today at 4PM EST [Updated]

Happy Flying.

Update: The rocket launched as planned without a hitch and absolutely lit up a cold night in Kazakhstan.

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Illustration for article titled Watch Expedition 42/43 Blast Off to ISS Today at 4PM EST [Updated]

Images via NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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DISCUSSION

VikingFuneral
VikingFuneral

Olaf in Spaaace! For me this is full of so much win. I've been getting my 3 1/2 year old daughter interested in science and space by viewing evening flyovers of the ISS since last spring. Getting her to understand that the "golden star" flying overhead is a giant spaceship with astronauts inside is a bit abstract for her to understand, and she was thrilled when she immediately recognized Olaf from Frozen inside the capsule with the astronauts during today's launch, and so was I.

The grin on Samantha Cristoforetti's face is priceless.