Veteran Russian commander Oleg Novitskiy, rookie flight engineer Pyotr Dubrov, and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei launched into orbit Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 a.m. EDT (0742 GMT). The crew members rode a Soyuz capsule in pursuit of the International Space Station, where docking occurred at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT).
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, veteran of a 168-day stay in space in 2017-18, will join two Russian cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz spacecraft April 9 for a flight back to the International Space Station in a deal brokered through Houston-based Axiom Space, NASA and the Russian space agency announced Tuesday.
Two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut boarded their Soyuz MS-06 landing craft for a homecoming Tuesday night, U.S. time, concluding 168 days in orbit. The trio undocked from the International Space Station at 5:08 p.m. EST (2208 GMT), and landed on the snowy steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:31 p.m. EST (0231 GMT Wednesday).