Launch is scheduled for 11:41 a.m. ET.
After launching, the trio will travel for six hours in the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft before docking to the space station's Rassvet module at 6 p.m. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 5:15 p.m.
A Russian Soyuz rocket launched three veteran space travelers from the U.S., Russia and Italy into orbit Friday (July 28), kicking off a five-month mission to the International Space Station.
It will be carrying flight commander Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, flight engineers Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency. He flew on a Space Shuttle Atlantis mission in 2009 with fellow UTSI alum Barry Wilmore ('94).
Soyuz MS-05 will perform short flight to ISS just like during previous two missions; it is one of the difference as first two missions of Soyuz-MS vehicles to ISS took around 24 hours.
He shared his enthusiasm for space in a tweet shortly before launch.
In addition to Whitson, Bresnik will also join fellow NASA astronaut Jack Fischer on the ISS.
250 experiments will be conducted by the astronauts at the orbiting lab including physical sciences, biology, technology development and human research. With the space station orbiting Earth every 92 minutes, ISS crew will get multiple chances to catch the four-hour eclipse on August 21. This new crew will remain at the space station until mid-December, according to NASA.