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 Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV; coverage begins at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT).
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.
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.