Watch the Soyuz Launch Three Astronauts to the Space Station Live

An earlier launch of the Soyuz to the ISS (Image: NASA)
An earlier launch of the Soyuz to the ISS (Image: NASA)

Three new astronauts will start a trip up to the International Space Station tonight—and it all begins with a ride on the Soyuz spacecraft. Watch it launch live right here at 9:36 p.m. EDT.


The astronauts—NASA’s Kate Rubins, JAXA’s Takuya Onishi, and Roscomos’ Anatoly Ivanishin—will be making the trip as part of Expedition 49. They’ll be joining Expedition 48's three-person crew already aboard the ISS.

But it’s not just astronauts making the trip. There’s some new gear, including a genetic sequencer, in the cargo hold. Rubins will be using the device to conduct the first ever in-space DNA sequence, which NASA hopes will answer questions about the impact of spaceflight on the human body.

NASA will start coverage at 8:30 p.m. tonight, and the launch will take place at 9:36 p.m. You can watch along with us here, and see the whole timeline that the Soyuz will follow (assuming all goes to plan) below.

8:36 p.m. Launch vehicle control system prep; gyros active

8:40 p.m. NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities

8:51 p.m. Pad service structure components lowered

8:52 p.m. Clamshell-like gantry service towers retracted

8:59 p.m. Suit leak checks; re-entry vehicle testing complete

9:02 p.m. Emergency escape system armed

9:21 p.m. Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto

9:26 p.m. Gyros “uncaged” and recorders activated

9:29 p.m. Pre-launch operations complete

9:30 p.m. Final launch countdown operations to auto

Launch complex/vehicle systems ready

9:31 p.m. Commander’s controls active/helmets closed

Launch key inserted

9:32 p.m. Combustion chamber nitrogen purge

9:33 p.m. Booster propellant tank pressurization (drainback)

9:35 p.m. Ground propellant feed terminated

9:35:41 p.m. Vehicle to internal power

9:36:06 p.m. Auto sequence start

First umbilical tower separates

9:36:11 p.m. 3rd stage ground power umbilical separates

9:36:26 p.m. Second umbilical tower separates

9:36:29 p.m. Launch command issued

Central/side pod engines start

9:36:31 p.m. Engine turbopumps at flight speed

9:36:36 p.m. Engines at maximum thrust

9:36:41 p.m. LAUNCH (1 hr, 28 min after sunrise)

9:45:26 pm Orbital insertion


Very Little Gravitas Indeed

Don’t forget - this is also the maiden flight of a new revision of the Soyuz spacecraft. The astronauts will perform an extended 2 day approach to the station, leaving them time to test a number of new and upgraded systems including new solar panels, re-positioned maneuvering engines for higher redundancy, a new approach and docking system, a new flight computer, new telemetry system and upgraded navigation system and recovery beacon.