The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the Rassvet module at 11:52 a.m. Moscow time and embarks upon its flight to the ISS.

Russia’s Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with three crew members on board will depart from the Baikonur space center on Wednesday under the super-short flight program, expected to take approximately three hours and seven minutes.

A Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the manned Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft is set to blast off from Site No. 31 (Vostok launch pad) of the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan at 08:45 a.m. Moscow time on October 14 to deliver Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, as well as NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins to the orbital outpost. Together, they will spend 177 days in space.

The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the Rassvet module at 11:52 a.m. Moscow time on the same day. Therefore, the flight will for the first time proceed under the two-orbit scheme.

More than 150 professional rescuers, an air squadron of eight Mi-8 helicopters, three An-26 planes and one An-12 plane, as well as 18 vehicles (including four modernized PEM-1 and PEM-2 Blue Bird search and rescue amphibious off-road vehicles) will take part in launch preparations.

As the spacecraft embarks upon its flight to the ISS, military rescuers will be deployed in Russia’s Gorno-Altaysk, Yekaterinburg, Kyzyl and Uprun, and in Kyrgyzstan’s Arkalyk, Baikonur, Zhezkazgan and Karaganda.

The crew will take aboard a knitted soft toy of a cosmonaut, to be used as a zero gravity indicator. The toy, made by the wife of Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, was nicknamed Yura – a reference to the first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

In the orbit
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft crew will bring additional equipment to detect an air leak aboard the ISS, which continues since September 2019. To that end, Russian cosmonauts will take additional equipment to trace the leak more accurately and more thoroughly. They will also bring aboard additional upgraded sealant to plug it.

Roscosmos told TASS that cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who are currently working aboard the ISS, came to a conclusion that the source of the leak is located at Russia’s Zvezda module. The crew’s lives and health are out of danger.

During their mission, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are to make two spacewalks, scheduled for November 2020 and Feberuary 2021. Both spacewalks will be needed for undocking and dumping the Pirs module next year. This is required for vacating the place for Russia’s new Nauka (Science) module that will be launched in April 2021.

During the new expedition, Russian cosmonauts Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will carry out 55 scientific researches and experiments, including four new probes. Three scientific experiments will be carried out without the crew’s participation.

Originally published at tass