NASA astronaut joins Russian Soyuz crew for April flight to space station – Spaceflight Now

STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION

Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos pose for a crew portrait on the Gagarin Cosmonaut Coaching Middle in Russia. Credit score: Roscosmos

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, veteran of a 168-day keep in house in 2017-18, will be a part of two Russian cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz spacecraft April 9 for a flight again to the Worldwide House Station in a deal brokered by Houston-based Axiom House, NASA and the Russian house company introduced Tuesday.

Whereas NASA funded the event of SpaceX and Boeing business crew capsules to finish the company’s post-shuttle reliance on Russia for house transportation, continued launches aboard the Soyuz will guarantee a U.S. presence on the lab even when an American spacecraft and crew are compelled to make an unplanned departure.

Likewise, Russian cosmonauts finally plan to launch on U.S. business crew ships to make sure a Russian presence if sickness or another emergency forces a Soyuz crew to depart forward of schedule. No cosmonauts have but been named to fly on the brand new U.S. spacecraft.

NASA managers have mentioned seats is not going to be purchased and offered as they had been previously when no American spacecraft had been accessible and the company was compelled to depend on Russia to succeed in the station. As a substitute, each nations are anticipated to accommodate one another in barter preparations to make sure crew continuity aboard the lab.

A NASA information launch mentioned Vande Hei’s seat was organized by a contract with Axiom House, headed by former house station program supervisor Suffredini. In change, NASA will present a seat aboard a U.S. business crew ship in 2023 for a non-NASA astronaut to be named later by Axiom.

The corporate already plans to launch 4 non-NASA astronauts on a totally business flight to the house station early subsequent 12 months.

In a press release on its internet web page Tuesday, Roscosmos mentioned it agreed to Vande Hei on the Soyuz MS-18/64S crew “on the pressing request of the American aspect.”

“NASA voiced its needs solely on the finish of 2020, and due to this fact the Russian aspect needed to change the already agreed flight program,” the house company mentioned in translated remarks. “Roscosmos agrees to this determination, reaffirming its dedication to joint agreements and the spirit of joint use of the Worldwide House Station.”

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, at the moment 146 days right into a deliberate 185-day mission aboard the house station, used the final NASA-purchased Soyuz seat when she blasted off final Oct. 14 with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

NASA paid $90.Three million for Rubins’ seat, pushing whole NASA funds to the Russian house company to $four billion for 71 Soyuz rides between 2006 and the tip of 2020.

Vande Hei, who holds a grasp’s diploma in utilized physics from Stanford College, first flew in house when he launched aboard the Soyuz MS-06/54S spacecraft on Sept. 12, 2017, together with Alexander Misurkin and NASA crewmate Joe Acaba. He spent 168 days in house and carried out 4 spacewalks totaling 26 hours and 42 minutes.

For his second flight, Vande Hei will change cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov, becoming a member of Soyuz MS-18/64S commander Oleg Novitskiy and co-pilot Pyotr Dubrov aboard the Soyuz MS-18/64S spacecraft. Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 3:42 a.m. EDT on April 9.

They’re anticipated to dock on the house station about three hours after takeoff, becoming a member of Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov aboard the outpost, together with 4 astronauts who arrived final November aboard the SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon capsule: Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese flier Soichi Noguchi.

Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov plan to return to Earth on April 17, closing out a 185-day mission.

The 4 Crew-1 Dragon fliers are anticipated to return to an Atlantic Ocean splashdown on the finish of April, per week or so after one other Crew Dragon arrives carrying 4 contemporary crew members: Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, House Company astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese flier Akihiko Hoshide.

Vande Hei will stay aboard the station with Novitskiy and Dubrov for not less than six months, though plans for his experience house haven’t but been introduced.

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