Three crew members, including NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:44 p.m. EDT Wednesday (11:44 p.m. Baikonur time).

The Soyuz MS-08 rocket is launched with Expedition 55 Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and flight engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel of NASA, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Artemyev, Arnold, and Feustel will spend the next five months living and working aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Feustal, Arnold and Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos is scheduled to dock to the space station’s Rassvet module at 3:41 p.m. Friday, March 23. Coverage of docking will begin at 3 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed at 5 p.m. by coverage of the opening of hatches between the spacecraft and station.

The arrival of Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev will restore the station’s crew complement to six. They will join Scott Tingle of NASA, Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The crew members will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Shkaplerov, Tingle and Kanai are scheduled to remain aboard the station until June 2018, while Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev are slated to return to Earth in August.

This crew continues the long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the space station. Highlights of upcoming investigations include: a new facility to test materials, coatings and components of other large experiments in the harsh environment of space; a study on the effects of microgravity on bone marrow and blood cells produced in bone marrow; and a newly-developed passive nutrient delivery system for the Veggie plant growth facility.

Arnold, a former educator, will continue NASA’s Year of Education on Station, an initiative to engage students and educators in human spaceflight and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

For more than 17 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,100 research investigations from researchers in more than 95 countries.

Follow Feustel and Arnold on their space mission at:

Ricky Arnold:

Richard R. Arnold II was selected by NASA in May 2004. Before his NASA career, the Maryland native worked in the marine sciences and as a teacher in places like Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.  During STS-119, he accumulated more than 12 days in space.  The objective of the mission was for the delivery of the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and a truss element for the International Space Station.  While onboard, he conducted more than 12 hours of spacewalks.

Personal Data:
Born in Cheverly and raised in Bowie, Maryland.  Married to Eloise Miller Arnold of Bowie, Maryland.  They have two daughters.  Enjoys running, fishing, reading, kayaking, bicycling and guitar.

Bachelor of Science from Frostburg State University, Maryland, 1985; Teacher certification from Frostburg State University, Maryland, 1988; Master of Science in Marine, Estuarine & Environmental Science, University of Maryland, 1992.

Arnold began working at the United States Naval Academy in 1987 as an Oceanographic Technician.  Upon completing his teacher certification program, he accepted a position as a science teacher at John Hanson Middle School in Waldorf, Maryland.  During his tenure, he completed a Masters program while conducting research in biostratigraphy utilizing radiometric dating at the Horn Point Environmental Laboratory in Cambridge, Maryland.  Upon matriculation, Arnold spent another year working in the Marine Sciences including time at the Cape Cod National Seashore and aboard a sail training/oceanographic vessel headquartered in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  In 1993, Arnold joined the faculty at the Casablanca American School in Casablanca, Morocco, teaching college preparatory Biology and Marine Environmental Science.  In 1996, he and his family moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was employed as a middle and high school science teacher and Department Chair at the American International School.  In 2001, Arnold was hired by International School Services to teach middle school mathematics and science at the International School of Kuala Kencana in West Papua, Indonesia.  In 2003, he accepted a similar teaching position at the American International School of Bucharest in Bucharest, Romania.

NASA Experience:
Selected as a Mission Specialist by NASA in May 2004.  In February 2006 he completed Astronaut Candidate Training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and space station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. In August 2007, he completed aquanaut training and served as a mission specialist on a joint NASA-NOAA mission, NEEMO 13 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Objectives), where he lived and worked in and around Aquarius – the world’s only undersea laboratory.  During the 10 day mission, the crew of NEEMO 13 conducted experiments and operations in a simulated lunar outpost.  In 2009, he completed training as a Deep Worker submersible pilot and has supported underwater operations for the Pavillion Lake Research Project and NASA NEEMO.  In 2016, Arnold led a multinational crew in a European Space Agency 6 day mission mapping and exploring a large cave network in Sardinia. Arnold has served as a Capsule Communicator (Capcom) in Mission Control. Arnold currently serves as the Assistant to the Chief for EVA and Robotics in the Astronaut Office. Arnold has accumulated over 1000 hours in multiple aircraft.

Spaceflight Experience:
?STS-119 Discovery (March 15-28, 2009) was the 125th shuttle flight, the 36th flight of Discovery and the 28th shuttle flight to the space station.  The primary objective of this flight was to deliver the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and a truss element to the station.  The mission also delivered and returned with an expedition crew member.  During this mission, Arnold accumulated 12 hours and 34 minutes during 2 spacewalks.  Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, having traveled 202 orbits and 5.3 million miles in 12 days 19 hours and 29 minutes.