Astronauts launch into space 50 years after historic moon landing
WASHINGTON — On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, two astronauts and a cosmonaut launched to the International Space Station.
The multinational crew making up Expedition 60 is NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.
Expedition 60 is the space station mission that began June 24 and will end October 3. Space station crews are referred to as expeditions.
They launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:28 p.m. ET. They will dock at the station at 6 p.m. and enter the space station at 8 p.m. They will be joining Roscosmos Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin, as well as NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch. They arrived at the space station in March.
This is Morgan’s first spaceflight; he was selected as an astronaut in 2013. The West Point graduate also serves as an emergency physician with the U.S. Army. He will enjoy an extended stay on the station and return to Earth in April 2020.
Parmitano will be going up to the station for the second time in his career. He was selected as an astronaut in 2009 and was assigned as a flight engineer for the Italian space agency’s first long-duration flight mission to the International Space Station. He spent 166 days on the station in 2013, participating in two spacewalks and docking four spacecraft.
When Ovchinin returns to Earth, Parmitano will become the first Italian astronaut to take on the role of commander.
This is Skvortsov’s third spaceflight. He was the commander of Expedition 24 in 2010 and was the flight engineer for Expedition 39 in 2014.
Expedition 60 will conduct biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science experiments on the space station.