OREANDA-NEWS. The «Soyuz-2.1» a carrier rocket with the «Soyuz MS-18» transport manned spacecraft launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Friday, April 9, in the morning, Roscosmos is broadcasting the launch.

The rocket launched at 10:42 (Moscow time) from the site number 31. On board the «Soyuz MS-18» spacecraft there is a new crew of the International Space Station: Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hai.

The planned duration of the expedition's flight will be 191 days. The commander of the expedition, Novitsky, will return to Earth in October, and two crew members, Vande Hai and Dubrov, will remain in orbit for a longer period. The crew will perform two spacewalks to receive the new multifunctional laboratory module (MLM) «Science», which will be sent to the ISS in July. The flight program also provides for about 50 scientific experiments.

Currently, the ISS crew consists of Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins, as well as American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who arrived at the station on November 17, 2020 on the latest American manned SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.