USAF Colonel, Academy Grad Reaches Space Station

Astronaut and Air Force Col. Jack Fischer made it safely to the International Space Station on Thursday morning after a six-hour flight alongside Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. The flight originated at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome and orbited Earth four times before heading to the station, according to a NASA release. Along with Expedition 51 crewmembers American Peggy Whitson , Oleg Novitskiy from Russia, and Thomas Pesquet of France, the two new arrivals will run about 250 research experiments in fields like biology, human research, and technology development. Fischer and Yurchikhin are expected to stay on board until September. They will be using collateral from Orbital ATK’s resupply mission, which launched Tuesday, to investigate antibodies for use in chemotherapy drugs and the habitation of plants for possible space-grown foods, among many other investigations. Fischer and Whitson are also scheduled to be part of a May 12 spacewalk, tasked with replacing an avionics box, which will also arrive by the resupply mission. Fischer is a 1996 Air Force Academy grad and earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT in 1998. NASA selected him in 2009.