Air Force pilot Col. Jack Fischer arrived at the International Space Station Thursday morning after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Fischer, along with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, blasted off in their Soyuz spacecraft at 3:13 a.m. EDT, and docked about five hours later at 9:18 a.m.
Over the next four-and-a-half to six months, Fischer, Yurchikhin, and the other astronauts aboard the space station will conduct about 300 experiments on subjects such as creating lighter and stronger alloys, new medicines, and testing new technologies for exploration.
Fischer, who has test-flown F-22s and flown F-15s in combat above Iraq and Afghanistan, was saluted by Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein, who tweeted a NASA video of the launch and said "Godspeed @Astro2fish [Fischer's Twitter handle] & Fyodor Yurchikhin. May your mission be successful."
And on Monday, President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, will call the space station to speak to astronaut and space station Commander Peggy Whitson, as well as Fischer. That day, Whitson will break the American record for most cumulative days in space. The previous record of 534 days was held by astronaut Jeff Williams. Whitson, who has been on the space station since Nov. 19, is also the first woman to command the space station twice, and has conducted the most spacewalks of any female astronaut.