Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The Soyuz rocket and crew capsule are ready to carry three new crew to the International Space Station after the rocket was rolled out to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The rocket is scheduled for liftoff at 9:57 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The launch will be broadcast live on NASA TV.
After being ferried from its assembly unit to the launch pad on Monday, the gantry arms were closed around the rocket. They support structures will be removed before launch.
Oleg Skripochka, a 49-year-old cosmonaut with two spaceflights under his belt, will serve as the Soyuz commander during the flight. Skripochka will be joined on the flight by Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, 42.
For Meir, a former assistant professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, this will be her first spaceflight, and she will serve as flight engineer. A native of Maine, she also holds a doctorate in marine biology.
Almansoori will be the first-ever space traveler from the UAE.
"Almansoori is flying on an eight-day mission as a spaceflight participant under a contract between the UAE and Roscosmos," according to NASA.
The trio of space travelers are expected to arrive and dock at the station's Zvezda service module at 3:45 p.m.
Their arrival will bring the space station's population to nine, as the trio join Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos, NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan, and astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.
The space station will get a little less crowded Oct. 3 when Hague and Ovchinin head back to Earth after 200 days in space.
Almansoori's stay will be a bit shorter than Hague and Ovchinin's. Almansoori will hitch a ride back with the veteran space-travelers.