NASA astronaut, Peggy Whitson (American), will command the International Space Station during their six month stay on the station. Whitson became the oldest woman to achieve space travel with the launch of Expedition 51 and also owns numerous other space travel records for females. She is joined by Roscosmos cosmonaut, Oleg Novitsky (Russian), and European Space Agency astronaut, Thomas Pesquet (French). The three launched from the Baikondur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursdayand arrived at the ISS at approximately five o'clock p.m. Eastern Standard Time in their Russian Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft.
Whitson, Novitskiy, and Pesquet, who make up totality of the Expedition 51 crew, will join the Expedition 50 crew, which is already on the International Space Station. NASA astronaut, Shane Kimbrough (American) has been commanding the ISS with the help of Roscosmos flight engineers, Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov (both Russian). The Expedition 50 crew arrived on the ISS in October and will remain with the Expedition 51 crew until February of 2017. Whitson and her crew will then complete the Earth science, physical science, biology and biotechnology experiments their predecessors started.
A live viewing event of the moment that the hatches of the International Space Station and the Soyuz opening has been advertised. The event is scheduled to occur at approximately 7:35 p.m. on Saturday. Aspiring viewers can tune in on Space.com thanks to NASA TV. The coverage of the event will begin at 6:45 p.m. EST.