Astronauts Launching to Space Station Wednesday Morning: Watch It Live

Update for 8 a.m. EDT, June 6: The Soyuz rocket carrying the new Expedition 56 crew for the International Space Station has successfully launched into orbit. Read our full launch recap here.

Three astronauts are launching toward the International Space Station (ISS) tomorrow morning (June 6), and you can watch their departure from Earth live.

NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst are scheduled to lift off aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan tomorrow at 7:12 a.m. EDT (1112 GMT; 5:12 p.m. local Baikonur time). You can watch the launch live here at, courtesy of NASA TV; coverage begins at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT).

The Soyuz rocket that will launch three space fliers toward the International Space Station on June 6, 2018, stands at the pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Image credit: NASA)

The Soyuz is scheduled to arrive at the ISS Friday morning (June 8). When the hatches between the two spacecraft open, the newcomers will be greeted by their fellow Expedition 56 crewmates: NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

Feustel is the commander of Expedition 56, which officially began Sunday (June 3), when a Soyuz carrying cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (the commander of Expedition 55), NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Norishige Kanai departed the ISS. 

The crew of Expedition 56 poses for a portrait with their Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft ahead of their planned launch to the International Space Station on June 6, 2018 to join the outpost's Expedition 56 crew. This image was taken May 20 at the Integration Facility of Baikonur Cosmodrome, the crew's launch site in Kazakhstan. (Image credit: Victor Zelentsov/NASA)

Construction of the orbiting lab, which features as much internal volume as a five-bedroom house, began in 1998. The ISS has been continuously occupied by rotating astronaut crews since November 2000. 

ISS residents' missions typically last five to six months. In March 2016, however, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko wrapped up a nearly yearlong stay aboard the orbiting lab that was designed to help scientists, doctors and mission planners prepare for long-duration space missions, such as the trek to Mars. NASA aims to get astronauts to the Red Planet before the end of the 2030s.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.