Soyuz MS-18 begins expedition 65 by carrying Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, they will rendezvous to the station where they will remain for their 6 month stay.
The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, commonly known as Roscosmos, is the governmental body responsible for the space science program of the Russian Federation and general aerospace research. Soyuz has many launch locations the Russian sites are Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny however Ariane also purchases the vehicle and launches it from French Guiana.
The International Space Station programme is tied together by a complex set of legal, political and financial agreements between the sixteen nations involved in the project, governing ownership of the various components, rights to crewing and utilization, and responsibilities for crew rotation and resupply of the International Space Station. It was conceived in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, during the Space Station Freedom project as it was originally called.
The Soyuz programme is a human spaceflight programme initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. The Soyuz spacecraft was originally part of a Moon landing project intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. It was the third Soviet human spaceflight programme after the Vostok and Voskhod programmes.
The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft will dock to the International Space Station carrying three new Expedition 65 crew members : ROSCOSMOS cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov as well as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.