The composition of the new expedition to the ISS is approved before the launch at Baikonur
The composition of the new expedition to the ISS has been approved at the Baikonur cosmodrome, it includes two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut, RIA Novosti reports.
The crew members were the Russians Oleg Novitsky and Petr Dubrov, as well as the American Mark Vande Hai. This will be the third flight for Novitsky, the second for Wande Haya, and the first for Dubrov.
The launch of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft on the Soyuz-2.1a rocket is scheduled for Friday, April 9, at 10:42 Moscow time. In 3 hours 25 minutes, at 14:07 Moscow time, the spacecraft should dock to the ISS.
The spacecraft was named Yu.A. Gagarin “in honor of the 60th anniversary of the first flight into the Earth's orbit. This inscription is applied to the hull of the ship. The rocket nose fairing is decorated with a portrait of the first cosmonaut and the inscription “Year of Gagarin 1961-2021”.
The new crew will deliver the Dreamer spacesuit to the ISS, decorated with drawings of children with oncology, as well as a device to continue searching for microcracks in the station's hull that have caused air leaks.
The flight program includes three spacewalks by Novitsky and seven spacewalks by Dubov. The cosmonauts will carry out preparatory work for the inclusion in the Russian segment of the multifunctional laboratory module “Science” and the nodal module “Prichal”.
According to the plans of the expedition, Novitsky will return to Earth in 191 days – on October 17, and Dubrov and Wanda Hai will have to be in orbit for almost a year – until March 28, 2022. In October, the crew members will take part in the first ever space filming of the previously announced feature film, tentatively titled Challenge.
Earlier it was reported that all members of the new expedition were vaccinated against coronavirus.
Currently, the station employs Russians Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, Americans Kathleen Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as the Japanese Soichi Noguchi.