RT travels to Baikonur to see off 56th ISS mission

The 56th International Space Station (ISS) mission has successfully launched three crew members into space. RT traveled to Khazakstan ahead of their send off.

The international crew took off from Baikonur at 4:12pm local time on Wednesday aboard a Soyuz MS-09 manned spacecraft. The spacecraft is set to dock at the ISS on Friday.

The team consists of Dr Serena Maria Aunon-Chancellor from NASA, Sergei Prokopiev from Roscosmos, and Alexander Gerst from the European Space Agency (ESA), who will be taking over as commander aboard the ISS. They will be joining Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, who are currently on the station.

The ISS team has an exciting time ahead, as they will be carrying out hundreds of experiments during their six-month stay on the station. Those will range from the effects of space on human bones, to robotics and quantum physics.

Despite the hard work that lies ahead, the crew members have every intention of enjoying themselves while in orbit, including by watching the upcoming World Cup.

"I think it's become a sort of tradition, every World Cup we have a bet. We made a similar bet about two years ago, that if our countries play against each other and Russia loses, then I have to cut my hair to look like Alex's hairdo," Prokopiev said, poking fun at Gerst's bald head.

But if Russia wins, Gerst will be made to draw the Russian flag on his forehead "and walk around like that for a whole day."

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