When CU-Boulder astronaut-alumnus Steve Swanson thunders into the heavens March 25 headed for the International Space Station, his journeys from Earth to space and back again will be decidedly different from his past missions.
For one, he will be riding atop a Soyuz rocket blasting off from the Baikonor Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in a capsule larger than but reminiscent of those used in NASA’s Apollo days. And his crewmates for the ride up likely will be speaking to each other in a different language.
Swanson, who will begin his arrival at ISS as flight commander of Expedition 39 and finish it as space station commander for Expedition 40, will be aboard the orbiting facility for roughly six months. The crew will be involved in dozens of experiments in the low gravity of the ISS, including efforts related to protein crystal growth, capillary blood flow, gravity sensing by plants and muscle and bone loss changes in space.
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