NASA Sets Coverage for Next Space Station Crew Launch, Docking

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are set to join the crew aboard the International Space Station on Thursday, March 14. The trio’s arrival will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. This launch will also mark the fourth Expedition crew with two female astronauts. Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, are set to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a six-hour journey to the station.

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Who Will Become the World’s First Commercial Spaceline?

New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)
New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)

With Blue Origin’s successful re-flight of its reusable New Shepard booster and capsule on Friday, the company jumped ahead in the competition to fly people into space on a commercial basis.

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Will Virgin Galactic Team Up or Go it Alone on Commercial Crew?

Sir Richard Branson and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

It seems that Virgin Galactic has a decision to make about how it goes about competing in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program:

“There’s about four companies that are seriously looking at [CCDev Phase 2],” [Richard] Branson said in an interview with Aviation Week. “Two of those companies we’re in discussions with about teaming up with. … Over the next month, we’re going to make a decision as to whether to team up with one of those two companies or go it alone, but we plan to be in orbital travel within the next few years.”

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