On March 21, 2018, a rocket carrying two American and a Russian astronauts has been successfully launched from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The three men crew should take two days to arrive on the International Space Station.

This launch mission, named Soyouz MS-08, consisted of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and the two US astronauts Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold.

Along with the three astronauts already in the ISS since December 2017 (Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), they will compose the entirety of the Expedition 55. Their mission will be to “study Earth atmospherics, the effects of microgravity on bone marrow, materials’ responses to space environments, and biological samples’ responses to simulated gravity.“ Some extra-vehicle experiences should also be undertaken. Expedition 55 is expected to last 6 months.

In addition to the scientific material that Soyouz MS-08 is transporting, the crew is carrying a ball that will be used in the first game of the next Football World Cup held in Russia in June 2018. It should be brought back by cosmonaut Anton Chkaplerov at the end of his mission in April 2018.