Brrrr! It was frigid in Kazakhstan yesterday as the next Soyuz to the ISS rolled to the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Thermometers read a frosty 24 degrees below zero C, prompting astronaut Don Pettit to comment, “It is so cold that even microphones have a fur hat.” Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers will launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft at 13:16 UTC (8:16 a.m. EST) Wednesday, to bring the crew compliment on the ISS back to six.
You can watch the launch on NASA Television (coverage of the launch begins at 12: 30 UTC (7:30 a.m. EST) or on ESA’s website. ESA TV Live coverage starts for a lift-off (at 14:16) with inserts from Baikonur and TSUP Moscow Mission Control Centre and inside Soyuz capsule.
The trio will dock to the Rassvet module of the station on Friday. They will join their Expedition 30 colleagues Commander Dan Burbank from NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the ISS since mid-November.