Footage from the Baikonur Cosmodrome showing the Expedition 52/53 crew preparing for their launch to the International Space Station.
The prime crew, ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and commander Sergey Ryazanskiy, and the backup crew JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, arrived in Baikonur on 16 July 2017.
The prime crew is set to launch to the International Space Station on 28 July 2017 for a four-and-a-half-month mission.
Paolo is heading to space for a third time. His mission, named the Vita mission, is part of a barter agreement between NASA and Italy’s ASI space agency involving ESA astronauts. Vita stands for Vitality, Innovation, Technology and Ability. In Italian, 'vita' means 'life', reflecting the experiments that Paolo will run and the philosophical notion of living in outer space – one of the most inhospitable places for humans.