Russia Approves New Crew for International Space Station

BAIKONUR, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian state commission on Tuesday approved the makeup of the main and backup crews of a new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), to blast off on Thursday.

The main crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, while the backup crew is Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Russia and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson.

“The chief medical commission ruled that both the main and the backup crew members are fit for performing a space flight,” said Sergei Krikalyov, head of Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.

Kotov is the most experienced of the three main crew members. He has flown two long-duration spaceflights aboard the ISS, logging just short of a year in space.

Ryazansky and Hopkins have no previous spaceflight experience.

The Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft was rolled out to its launch pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Monday.

The launch is set for shortly before 1 a.m. Moscow time on September 26 (20:58 GMT, September 25) with ISS docking to occur some six hours later.

This will be the third consecutive manned flight to the ISS under the “short” six-hour flight program. Before March this year, all manned Soyuz missions were carried out under a two-day scheme.

The current ISS crew comprises Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and astronauts Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.


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