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first_imgNASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield launched earlier today aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, headed to the International Space Station. The craft launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome at around 7:12AM EST, and shortly after launch, Romanenko reported that everything onboard the craft is normal, and the astronauts are feeling great.The astronauts are headed to the ISS to join Expedition 34, as well as to join the three astronauts currently stationed there. The three astronauts will spend about five months in space, then Hadfield will take over control of the ISS in March when the next expedition arrives. All three astronauts have previous space experience — Hadfield has been to space twice, and Marshburn and Romanenko have both been once. Romanenko’s previous trip saw him stay on the ISS for six months back in 2009.It’ll take two days for the Soyuz craft to catch up to the ISS, and the crew is expected to dock with the station on December 21, at around 9:12AM EST.The astronauts will be arriving just in time to celebrate Christmas, and Romanenko says they’ll be decorating the space station — as well as dressing up — to reflect the holiday. The crew will have holiday food available, such as turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cobbler. Marshburn says he believes there’s even a “tiny Christmas tree that’s been up there for years” that they’ll set up.Though the astronauts are bringing the holiday spirit to space, they’re not quite bringing any new tasks to the station, and will simply be performing routine maintenance and making sure the 110 experiments aboard the station continue to run as intended. Most likely an unintentional reference to a certain malevolent video game artificial intelligence, Hadfield notes that the purpose of the ISS is to “do science” and it’s the astronauts’ job to make sure that said science “gets done.” Perhaps there will be some kind of song to explain it further.via Spacelast_img read more