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MS-04 is up

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Soyuz MS-04 was launched towards the ISS at 0713 UTC (8:13 BST) this morning, with a crew of two. Fyodor Yurchikhin (on his fifth flight) and Jack Fischer (first flight) will complete the Expedition 51 crew. They're due to remain in orbit until September and when they return the third seat will be occupied by Peggy Whitson, currently in command of the station. The other crewmen, Oleg Novitsky and Thomas Pesquet from France, are due to return to Earth at the beginning of June.

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I think this is the first time with this new Soyuz variant that they've done the fast rendezvous. With the previous three missions they've followed the slower approach, taking two days or so to get there. Tomorrow the Cygnus CRS OA-7 cargo freighter is due to arrive - it was launched on Tuesday but obviously the manned craft got priority so docked first. This one is named for John Glenn.

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