BAIKONUR COSMODROME /Kazakhstan/, March 21./TASS/. The manned spacecraft Soyuz MS-08 carrying the crew of three astronauts, has been placed into orbit and is heading to the International Space Station, a representative from the Roscosmos State Corporation told has reporters.
The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft launched from Baikonur spaceport is taking Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold to the International Space Station (ISS). The docking with the Russian segment of the ISS is scheduled for 22:41 Moscow time on March 23.
The Soyuz-FG rocket blasted off from Baikonur at 20:44, Moscow time.
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 takes 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.