BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan – The latest Soyuz spacecraft roll-out at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan drew a modest crowd of spectators early on Wednesday ahead of its upcoming launch.
A train was used to transport the Soyuz MS-05 to launch pad one in preparation for an upcoming mission to the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and Roscosmos commander Sergey Ryazansky.
Relatives of the next ISS occupants turned out for the occasion, along with tourists, officials from the various space agencies and members of the media.
Media pictures showed the spacecraft and its launch vehicle making its way along the tracks under a low morning sun, before arriving at the launch pad and being installed in an upright position.
The ISS-bound trio, which makes up half of the Expedition 52/53 crew, is set to begin its journey to the ISS on Friday at 1541 GMT, according to the ESA, for a flight scheduled to take about six hours.
“The soon-to-be six crew members of Expedition 52 will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the International Space Station,” said NASA in a statement.
Once firmly on board the orbital platform, the crew will spend more than four months there, before returning to Earth in December.
Current ISS residents include Roscosmos commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, who are expected to return home in September.