Spaceflight Insider

Expedition 48/49 crew ready for journey to International Space Station

Expedition 48 49 crew members Kate Rubins Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi photo credit Juan Diego Delagarza SpaceFlight Insider

From left-to-right: NASA JSC PAO Brandi Dean, Expedition 48/49 crew members NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takuya Onishi. Photo Credit: Juan Diego Delagarza / SpaceFlight Insider

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Texas — Three members of the Expedition 48/49 crew detailed their upcoming flight to the International Space Station on the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft. That mission is currently scheduled to get underway on June 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio briefed reporters on Wednesday, March 9.

Expedition 48/49 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins photo credit juan_diego_delagarza / SpaceFlight Insider

Rubins stated that she is excited about conducting an array of experiments which have practical medical benefits here on Earth. Photo Credit: Juan Diego Delagarza

The crew for this mission includes rookie NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who will serve as Flight Engineer during her time on orbit.

“There’s a lot of experiments that I’m very excited about, there’s going to be some DNA sequencing experiments, a lot of experiments to look at the behavior of cells in space as well as bone loss and muscle loss that we can correlate with some diseases on Earth. So, I’m looking forward to a pretty hefty research component on 48/49,” Rubins said.

Taking point on Expedition 49, and serving as a flight engineer on Expedition 48, will be Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin. Ivanishin was asked to give his crewmates some advice on what to do during their first time at the orbiting lab. The space flight veteran’s words were profound.

“The best advice that I can give to them is to keep their eyes open, have fun and enjoy the time you experience, because the time is going to pass by very fast,” Ivanishin said.

The final member of the Expedition 48/49 crew is Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takuya Onishi who will also serve as a flight engineer on the ISS.

“I’ve spent almost half of my time in Russia and the other half here in Houston. I’ve been very busy for these two-and-a-half years, since my assignment. The training for [the] Soyuz vehicle was quite tough, because I had to study like a college student, I stayed up late, almost every day, staying up until 2 a.m. studying Soyuz systems and going to classes… so it was very challenging for me,” Onishi said.

The briefing was held at JSC’s Building 2 at 1 p.m. CST and detailed how these new station crew members will be conducting about 250 experiments not possible on Earth.

As she noted, during her time at the space station, Rubins will be performing the first genetic sequencing in space as an example of the hundreds of experiments in which she plans to participate. Rubins noted that both in preparations and execution, efforts to conduct these experiments are firmly rooted on the ground.

“So, we get some training on the ground, generic ‘set of skills’ training so that we can function as laboratory workers essentially on board the International Space Station and then each contributing agency gets time and resources and payload availability. That’s not decided by the crew, thank goodness (laughs)! There are some really smart people that do all the allocations and then we will get some timelines and some schedules that says when we’re performing which experiments and so it’s all predetermine,” Rubins told SpaceFlight Insider. “But we have got a whole team of folks on the ground who help develop this great plan for us.”

Video courtesy of NASA / JSC


Juan was born in California but raised in South Texas (Brownsville). He is a veteran of Desert Storm (1991) and current Army Reservist assigned to Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. De La Garza has proven his motivation and dedication of his passion in aviation, spaceflight advocacy and local events through still photography. De La Garza photographed SCA905's move from Ellington Airport to Space Center Houston as part of The Rise of INDEPENDENCE event which saw the shuttle replica placed atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Aug. 14, 2014. De La Garza also serves as a contributor to Astro95 Media.

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