BAIKONUR/Kazakhstan/, March 21. /TASS/. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold will head to the International Space Station on Wednesday from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan as part of a new expedition, the Roscosmos state corporation said.
"The launch of Soyuz MS-08 manned spacecraft with three crew members by the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket is scheduled for 8.44 p.m. Moscow Time on March 21," a Roscosmos spokesman said.
The spacecraft will be put into orbit by the carrier rocket nine minutes after the launch and will head to the ISS. Its autonomous flight will last for two days. The Soyuz MS-08 will dock with the Russian segment of the space station at 10.41 p.m. Moscow Time on March 23.
Artemyev earlier said he would set out on a spacewalk on August 8 together with Sergei Prokopyev, who is due to reach the ISS in June. The Russian cosmonauts will install equipment on the external surface of the ISS for the ICARUS experiment on monitoring wild birds. This will be the most interesting experiment out of more than 50 others, which the Russian crew will carry out during the flight, the cosmonaut said. The Russian cosmonauts will also launch nano-satellites during their spacewalk.
The Soyuz MS-08 will take to the station a ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The ball will be later taken back to the Earth by cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and may be used in the first match of the championship in Russia.