Launch day for Vita mission

After years of training and preparation, it’s almost time for launch for ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli and crewmates Randy Bresnik of NASA and Sergey Ryazansky of Roscosmos.

The past two weeks have seen the astronauts move from Star City to Baikonur Cosmodrome for final Sokol suit fittings, Soyuz spacecraft checks, traditional ceremonies like museum visits, haircuts, and movie screening, press conferences, mission briefings, and of course time with family and friends.

Explore the activities that take place at Baikonur Cosmodrome: 

Baikonur Cosmodrome and all the activities that take place there. Copyright: ESA

Be prepared for launch day. Here’s a quick overview of the crew’s schedule starting at L-9 hours (times are approximate and in CEST):

  • 08:41 Crew wake up at Cosmonaut Hotel
  • 11:41  Crew depart Cosmonaut Hotel
  • 12:41  Crew arrive at Building 254 for Sokol suit up
  • 14:00 Crew meet with family members
  • 14:45 Crew walkout of Building 254 and board space bus for the launch pad
  • 15:00 Crew arrive at launch pad 1
  • 15:15 Crew board their Soyuz
  • 16:21  Hatch closes, leak checks begin
  • 16:45 Live coverage of launch begins
  • 17:36  Prelaunch checks complete. Commander takes control of Soyuz
  • 17:37  ISS flies directly over Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • 17: 41 Launch command issued, engine start sequence begins and just before lift-off engines fire at full thrust
  • 17:41: 12 Liftoff

Be sure to watch the live coverage starting at 16:45 CEST and follow @esaspaceflight for live tweets throughout the day.

Learn more about Paolo, his training, and the Soyuz craft that will launch him and his crew with Vita mission infographics.

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