UCSD grad among 3 astronauts to arrive at International Space Station

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In this handout photo released by Roscosmos, U.S. astronaut Kate Rubins, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), speaks during a news conference at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. U.S. astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov are the next crew of the Soyuz mission to the International Space Station scheduled on Wednesday, Oct. 14. (Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service via AP)

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – NASA astronaut and UC San Diego graduate Kate Rubins arrived aboard the International Space Station Wednesday, where she and two Russian cosmonauts will conduct research over the next six months.

Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov launched from Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft and arrived at the station’s Rassvet module at 1:48 a.m. PST following a two-orbit, three-hour flight, according to NASA.

The trio joined Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April. Ryzhikov will become the commander when Expedition 64 begins Oct. 21 and Cassidy, Vagner and Ivanishin will depart for Earth.

The spaceflight marks the second for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov, who will live and work aboard the outpost for six months, conducting research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research and more. NASA says research conducted in microgravity will help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, in addition to improvements for life on Earth.

According to NASA, Rubins became the first person to sequence DNA in space during her first spaceflight in 2016.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from UCSD in 1999, and a doctorate in cancer biology from Stanford University’s Medical School Biochemistry Department and Microbiology and Immunology Department in 2005.

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