Watch NASA's Rocket Launch Livestream As Astronauts Travel to International Space Station

NASA is due to livestream a manned rocket launch to the International Space Station in the early hours of Friday morning.

The mission, called Soyuz MS-18 for Roscosmos and Expedition 65 for NASA, will see one NASA astronaut, Mark Vande Hei, and two Russian cosmonauts, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz 2 rocket.

Lift-off is scheduled for 3:42 a.m. EDT Friday morning, though NASA will begin livestream coverage at around 2:45 a.m. via its NASA Live channel on YouTube. A link can be seen below.

Coverage doesn't stop there. Just a few hours after launch, the crew will arrive at the ISS and begin docking, scheduled for 7:07 a.m. EDT. The hatch into the ISS is expected to open at 9 a.m. EDT.

The mission is significant in that it will cause the ISS to be more crowded than it has ever been before. When the three crew members arrive, there will be a total of ten people on board, according to Everyday Astronaut—which means there will be more people than there are sleeping quarters.

To get around this, some crew members will have to relocate into a SpaceX Dragon capsule that is already docked to the ISS from a previous flight, and sleep there until more space is freed up.

Vande Hei told Everyday Astronaut he had offered to sleep in the capsule, but fellow NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who is already on the ISS, volunteered instead.

Vande Hei said: "Normally the Dragon crew commander and others will sleep in the Dragon capsule. I had offered to be one of those people, but really kindly, Kate Rubins made a stand about how she would do that over me."

Rubins has been aboard the ISS since October last year. She is part of NASA's Expedition 64 mission, and is set to return to Earth on April 17 along with two Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

Friday morning's launch is set to be the 117th flight of a Soyuz 2 rocket. The Soyuz rockets form part of the wider Soyuz program, which also includes space capsules. It is the longest operational human spacecraft program in history.

NASA has relied on Soyuz technology for years, though the agency is increasingly moving to domestic spacecraft providers such as SpaceX to launch its astronauts to the ISS.

The next SpaceX mission to deliver astronauts to the ISS, called Crew-2, is due to launch on April 22—less than two weeks after the MS-18 flight. It will carry two NASA astronauts, one European Space Agency astronaut, and one Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut.

MS-18/Expedition 65 crew
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, left, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, right, pose for a photo in front of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, March 27 2021. Irina Spector/NASA/GCTC