Friday, March 1, 2019

Next ISS Expedition Crew in Final Preparations for the Flight

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Expedition 59 crew members Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos (second from left), Christina Koch of NASA (second from right) and Nick Hague of NASA (right) walk to a bus Feb. 26 to take them to their plane for a flight to their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for final pre-launch training. They will launch on March 14, U.S. time, on the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Beth Weissinger

The basic and back-up crews of the manned Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft have switched to their final preparations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Russia’s Energia Space Rocket Corporation reported on its website on Wednesday.

"The concluding stage has started for the basic and back-up crews of the piloted Soyuz MS-12 transport spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome to prepare for the flight to the International Space Station," the statement says.

The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft’s basic crew comprising cosmonaut of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch and the back-up crew of Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA) Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan have already tried on the spacesuits, tested them for air tightness and checked their seats in the space vehicle.

They have also got acquainted with the onboard documentation and studied the flight program.

Now the cosmonauts and the astronauts will undergo training for the manual docking of the manned spacecraft with the orbital outpost, practice ballistic operations and other procedures.

The launch of the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft with Alexei Ovchinin, Nick Hague and Christina Koch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the ISS is scheduled for March 14.

Currently, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency David Saint-Jacques are working aboard the world’s sole orbiter.

Ovchinin and Hague were expected to arrive at the orbital outpost back in October 2018 but their expedition was foiled by the abortive launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket on October 11.

Credit: TASS