NASA Sets Coverage for Next Space Station Crew Launch, Docking

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are set to join the crew aboard the International Space Station on Thursday, March 14. The trio’s arrival will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. This launch will also mark the fourth Expedition crew with two female astronauts. Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, are set to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a six-hour journey to the station.

The new crew members will dock to the Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.

About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the new residents will be greeted by NASA astronaut Anne McClain, station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The current three-person crew just welcomed the first American commercial crew vehicle as it docked to the station on March 3, amidst a busy schedule of scientific research and operations since arriving in December.

Coverage of the Expedition 59 crew’s launch and docking activities are as follows (all times EDT):

Thursday, March 14:

  • 2 p.m. – Soyuz MS-12 launch coverage (launch at 3:14 p.m.)
  • 8:45 p.m. – Docking coverage (docking scheduled for 9:07 p.m.)
  • 10:30 p.m. – Hatch opening and welcome coverage

A full complement of video of the crew’s pre-launch activities in Baikonur will air on NASA TV in the days preceding launch.

The crew members of Expeditions 59 and 60 will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.

McClain, Saint-Jacques, Hague and Koch also are all scheduled for the first spacewalks of their careers to continue upgrades to the orbital laboratory. McClain and Hague are scheduled to begin work to upgrade the power system March 22, and McClain and Koch will complete the upgrades to two station power channels during a March 29 spacewalk. This will be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers. Hague and Saint-Jacques will install hardware for a future science platform during an April 8 spacewalk.

Hague and Ovchinin are completing a journey that was cut short Oct. 11, when a booster separation problem with their Soyuz rocket’s first stage triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. They landed safely a few minutes later, after reaching the fringes of space, and were reassigned to fly again after McClain, Kononenko and Saint-Jacques launched in early December. This will be Ovchinin’s third flight into space, the second for Hague and the first for Koch. Hague, Koch, and McClain are from NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, half of which were women—the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class.

Check out the full NASA TV schedule and video streaming information at:

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at:

Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram and Twitter at:


  • ThomasLMatula

    Here’s hoping this Soyuz works and NASA stream of luck playing Technology Russian Roulette holds..,

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Could you imagine the outrage in the US if we flew an STS with 7 crew and only 2 or three were Americans with a Russian as the pilot? They’re taking some licks with flights like this. Not to mention the amount of systems engineering and experience that has been transferred to the Americans to allow our crew members to function on Soyuz. We’d freak out doing the same with the Russians.

  • ThomasLMatula

    True, but than we are paying for these flights while the Russians and ESA astronauts that flew on Shuttle were for free.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The Europeans paid for and maintained Space Lab. The Russian rides were all part of getting the Soviet armed forces behind Russian lines, and transferring all those members of the Warsaw Pact into NATO. It was a bargain of historical proportions. Of course you Trumpers think it’s nothing but baggage, you all have already forgot what it’s like staring down 200 motorized rifle divisions. Lately you guys even forgot that you were supposed to be the guardians against runaway deficit spending. You guys have gone totally democrat on that front.

  • ThomasLMatula

    News flash, I never voted for President Trump. But you love stereotyping folks that disagree with you.

    Shuttle/Mir came years after the Russians let Eastern Europe go free. And it wasn’t from any deal with the West, it was because Russia was broke and couldn’t pay them anymore. The purpose of Shuttle/Mir was to keep the Russians from helping Iran get missile technology like they currently have.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Oh sorry about that.

    Let’s see Shuttle/Mir program was started in 94 which means it was negotiated years before that. The Soviet/Russian armed forces finished their staged withdrawal from Germany in 94. Don’t forget the Russians also wanted their troops to remain in Germany so the Germans could pay for their quarters and food. You may remember that the Russians complained that they were not able to house and feed their soldiers in Russia at the time. So the programs were very much going on at the same time and were part of the politics of the era.

  • ThomasLMatula

    There was no connection between the Shuttle/Mir program and Russia pulling its troops out of Eastern Europe. None. Space is simply not that important. There is zero support for your theory.

    The U.S. funded the Russian space program simply because it was afraid Russia would sell its rocket technology to nations like North Korea and Iran to keep money flowing in. And it was only negotiated in 1993 when the Russians were added to the ISS. And guest what? Russia still sold the technology.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Are you sure? Were you part of the process?

  • ThomasLMatula

    There were Congressional hearings about Shuttle/Mir. Go look them up. UA has a great space policy library.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Well you know, I was working with a lot of NASA folks back then, and one of the project managers for Pathfinder had come in to our program from Shuttle/Mir, and he was of the opinion that we were opening up to the Russians in a big way as part of a overall process of making the Russians feel at ease with their withdrawal from their forward stance. We would also chat about tie in’s with the Lugar Nunn program. So all I can tell you is the people who I knew who were working the program were of the opinion that they were playing a part of the general draw down of the Cold War. You’re free to disagree of course. I know who I’m going to give more credence to.

  • duheagle

    Just for the record “we Trumpers” don’t have any problem with the ex-Warsaw Pact NATO members. They meet their obligations and proved very useful in Iraq and Afghanistan. The problem we have with NATO is with many of the senior members of the alliance. They’re the ones who seem to have forgotten “what it’s like staring down 200 motorized rifle divisions.”

  • ThomasLMatula

    Folks in the space program like to believe it’s more important politically than it actually is. But the reality is that is only a marginal activity when it comes to global politics and has been since Project Apollo. If what you said had any glimmer of being true it would be in the Congressional hearings on Shuttle/Mir, but the only thing mentioned is the belief that it would prevent Russian engineers from helping out nations like Iran and North Korea with their rockets programs. But it doesn’t seem to have had any effect in preventing them from getting space capable systems.

    When you have time you should probably ask the libertarians at UA to find you the transcripts of the hearings to read what actually went on. The is also a journal called “Space Policy” they subscribe to that would have articles on Shuttle/Mir from that era.

    But quite honestly, although I have a Ph.D. in a space commerce topic, and have been involved in space policy for decades, you are the first one to ever suggest that the Soviets abandoned their empire just to get some money for their space program. And it just doesn’t match the events actually associated with the fall of the Soviets, the liberation of Eastern Europe or the creation of the Shuttle/Mir Program.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Stop being stupid. that retort sounds like it came from someone suffering from every malfunction attributed to academics who have nothing to stand on but their credential. I never said what you said I said, nor did I ever imply it. That’s a pretty piss poor stawman you’ve built there. It won’t keep the crows away.

  • ThomasLMatula

    So again, just was your theory on Shuttle/Mir, the 200 Russian divisions and the fall of the Soviet Empire?

    Shuttle/Mir and ISS are mere footnotes when looking at the consequences of the failure and fall of the Union of Socialist Republics (USSR). And ISS, or the Gateway, is not going to prevent a new Cold War with Russia if they want one.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Again you make up a false strawman argument by trying to put words in my mouth. I only assert it was part of the process of turning off the Cold War when it was still being drawn down. In your opening shot you seemed to indicate that it was all over my 1991 ish, I merely pointed out that troops were still being withdrawn as late as 94 and that people who I worked with who were in various loops were of the opinion that Shuttle/Mir was part of the general drawdown of hostilities. Not a prime driver. And while yes, you’re correct the ISS is not stopping a new Cold War with Russia, it’s also keeping open a channel of inter-governmental communications. It’s also keeping open a means of our governments to interoperate on non-hostile grounds. As to the worth of that, I leave to you to decide, I imagine we might both disagree on that front. I’m sure you understppd that this is what I meant. Why you’re trying to put stupid arguments into something that I’m not arguing escapes me.