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Watch Russian Soyuz rocket launch 3 astronauts to space station today

Editor's note: The Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin successfully launched to the International Space Station at 9:54 a.m. EDT (1354 GMT) and docked at the oribiting lab 4 hours later. Read our wrap story.


Three people will launch on a speedy trip to their orbital destination on a Russian spacecraft today (Sept. 21), and you can watch the whole thing live.

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are expected to launch to the International Space Station today from the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:54 a.m. EDT (1354 GMT or 6:54 p.m. local time in Baikonur.)

Coverage will start at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) here at Space.com, via NASA Television, which is also available directly from NASA (opens in new tab). The agency will also carry coverage on its app, social media and website.

Related: These astronaut photos of a Soyuz launch from space are just incredible

The Soyuz spacecraft from Russia's federal space agency, known as Roscosmos, will take just two orbits and three hours to reach the ISS. The Soyuz will then dock with the orbiting complex, and, roughly two hours later, the hatches connecting the two spacecraft will open and the Soyuz crew will join Expedition 67.

Already on board the ISS are Expedition 67 commander and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. 

3 people in spacesuits on a ladder waving

Expedition 68 crew members Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos, top, Frank Rubio of NASA, and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, bottom, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft for launch on Sept. 21, 2022. (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz ride of Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin will mark the beginning of their six-month space mission. This will be Prokopyev's second spaceflight and the first for Rubio and Petelin.

While NASA handles most of its ISS personnel needs through SpaceX commercial crew contracts, occasionally the agency tasks Roscosmos with bringing its astronauts aloft for logistical reasons (as there are only so many SpaceX flights available) and international exchange purposes. 

And next month, a cosmonaut is scheduled to fly to the ISS with SpaceX for the first time: Anna Kikina is a member of SpaceX's Crew-5 mission for NASA, which is scheduled to lift off on Oct. 3.

In pictures: Amazing launch photos of SpaceX's Crew-4 mission 

soyuz rocket launching with blue sky in behind and flames below rocket

Expedition 46 launches to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in 2017. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Boeing hopes to have its Starliner spacecraft ready in 2023 for more astronaut taxi trips. NASA has emphasized ISS relations remain normal despite Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022.

Key mission milestones for this Soyuz launch, according to NASA (opens in new tab), include:

  • 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT): Coverage begins on NASA TV’s Public Channel for 9:54 a.m. EDT (1354 GMT) launch.
  • 12:15 p.m. (1615 GMT): Coverage begins on NASA TV’s Public Channel for 1:11 p.m. docking.
  • 3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT): Coverage begins on NASA TV for hatch opening and welcome remarks.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.