The second half of the Expedition 40 crew is set to lift off today at 19:57 UTC (15:57 EDT). The first half of the Expedition 40 crew arrived at the station in March.
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and Roscosmos commander Maxim Suarev will spend just six hours traveling to the International Space Station after launching in the Soyuz 39 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
This is also the start of Alexander’s so-called Blue Dot mission. Very cool stuff the Blue Dot includes dozens of experiments in physics, biology, human physiology and radiation.
One of the experiments is the installation of the German-built Electromagnetic Levitator. IT is a that furnace can melt and solidify metal alloys away from the container’s walls, helping scientists to understand the solidification and physical properties of molten alloys.
Another and possibly sketchy (just kidding) experiment is rodent research hardware to provide a platform for long-duration rodent experiments in space. Plus Rodent Research-1 testing the operational capabilities of the new hardware system, including the transporter, rodent habitat and access unit.
If we find out mouse traps are being taken to the ISS on a cargo ship or the Expedition flight (41) in September we will know not everything went to plan.
You should be able to get a live look at the launch at the NASA TV link in the banner above.