A European, an American and a Russian are headed to the International Space Station to begin the Proxima mission.
A Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan recently, bound for the International Space Station and ready to start work on the important Proxima mission. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos commander Oleg Novitsky were aboard the spacecraft, and are now getting ready to dock with the ISS, circling Earth 34 times before they will be ready to meet up with the speeding space station on Saturday.
It will be a packed six months for the team, with a full schedule of experiments planned. The first week will include work on the Aquamembrane experiment, which will hopefully help simplify testing for water contamination anywhere. The team will also place samples around the Columbus laboratory for an experiment to investigate antibacterial properties of materials, which could hopefully pave the way for easier to clean spacecraft in the future.
In addition, the team will place monitors to determine how much space radiation reaches the ISS. In all, the team will conduct more than 50 European experiments.
The Proxima mission will begin slowly. Once the astronauts are on board, they will spend a couple weeks getting used to living and working in microgravity, which will cause an astronaut’s spine to lengthen and his or her bones to weaken.