MYSTERY WIRE — Two Russians and one American are preparing to journey to the International Space Station onboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
The three are expected to remain on the ISS until April, welcoming the first operational crew delivered to the space station by Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm.
Preparing for lift off
Crew members of Expedition 64 are an astronaut and two cosmonauts who’ll begin their journey to the International Space Station on October 14.
The three took part in training and exams at the Yuri Gagarin Training Centre in Star City outside Moscow on Wednesday, ahead of their expected launch next month.
The team held an online media conference on Thursday September 24, as COVID-19 restrictions prohibited meeting with the press face to face.
Three crew members, Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, will be launched onboard a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft.
The remainder of the crew is scheduled to be delivered on SpaceX Crew-1 shortly afterwards.
“We’re gonna have a lot of people there. I think we’re gonna be all happy to be together in space and it will allow us to conduct many more experiments on board,” says Rubins.
“So, we really seeing (changes to close shot) full utilization of space as a scientific platform.”
This will be cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov’s first space flight.
He joined Roscosmos ten years ago and learned that he was selected for the flight in April last year.
“I cannot say that it was a complete surprise, because we prepare, work and expect this moment,” he says.
“Of course, I was very happy inside, but understood that hard work lies ahead of me and this is just a step toward the space flight and fulfillment of all the tasks.”
Although COVID-19 is on the minds of many back on Earth, Rubins says it won’t be part of their work on the ISS, as it’s not safe to work with dangerous viruses at the space station.
“(COVID-19) is a very dangerous virus, and we should not study this virus in space, only on the earth,” she says.
“There are many labs that are studying it and I hope that soon we will improve our situation here.”
The team have a new mascot… a small knitted toy called ‘Yuri’. It’s named after Russian Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey to outer space.
“As an indicator of zero gravity, we will use this knitted cosmonaut,” says Kud-Sverchkov.
“We decided to call him Yuri, for obvious reasons (close of knitted toy) It will be our mascot and will spend all the time with us (changes to wide shot), from start to landing.”
The crew is scheduled to spend 177 days in space and conduct 56 science experiments and two space walks.
NASA says the launch of the Soyuz spacecraft is scheduled for October 14 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.