For the second time this year, Roscosmos is in final preparations for the launch of three crewmembers to the International Space Station.  Soyuz Commander Sergei Prokopyev and fellow crewmembers Dr. Alexander Gerst and Dr. Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor are scheduled to launch on Soyuz MS-09 at 07:12 EDT (1112 UTC) on Wednesday, 6 June from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a two-day rendezvous with the Station.  The new crew will be joined on the Station by the first space-flying Artificial Intelligence robot, CIMON.

The ninth flight of the newly upgraded MS-series of the veteran Soyuz crew vehicle has been in build and integration operations for years, with final major preparations picking up in earnest on 4 May when the Soyuz MS-09 craft entered final radio systems testing. On 20 May, the crew performed final Sokol launch and entry space suit fit checks and checkouts inside Soyuz MS-09.

 This was followed two days later on 22 May with the fueling of the spacecraft with propellant and compressed gases. The following day, technicians moved Soyuz MS-09 to the Spacecraft Assembly and Testing Facility (SC ATF) where they installed the craft on the assembly jig and mated it to the third stage adaptor – which connects the craft to the third stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket.

By 31 May, Soyuz MS-09 was encapsulated inside its payload fairing shroud, and the three prime crewmembers completed all pre-launch entry and checkouts inside the spacecraft. The Soyuz MS-09 crew mission patch.

(Credit: Roscosmos) On 1 June, Soyuz MS-09 was transported by rail to the final integration facility.  Between 2 and 3 June, the spacecraft was mated to the Soyuz-FG’s third stage, the combined third stage/MS-09 mated to the core stage of the Soyuz-FG rocket, and the payload shroud was fitted with its Launch Escape Tower. Read more from nasaspaceflight.com…

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