NASA assigns Mark Vande Hei to Soyuz MS-18 mission to ISS – SpaceFlight Insider

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei inside the Japanese Kibo module during his first trip to the ISS. Photo Credit: Nanoracks / NASA

NASA astronaut Mark Hei contained in the Japanese Kibo module throughout his first journey to the ISS. Photograph Credit score: Nanoracks / NASA

With only a month till the Soyuz MS-18 mission to the Worldwide House Station, NASA has assigned astronaut Mark Vande Hei to the flight for a roughly six-month journey to the outpost.

He’ll be becoming a member of Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov when the spacecraft launches to the ISS at about 3:42 a.m. EDT (07:42 UTC) April 9, 2021, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Docking with the Rassvet module is predicted roughly two orbits later.

This might be 54-year-old Vande Hei’s second journey into house. His first was in 2017 and 2018 when he was part of ISS expeditions 53 and 54. In complete, he spent 168 days in orbit. Throughout that point he participated in 4 spacewalks accumulating 26 hours, 42 minutes working exterior the ISS.

Randy Bresnik, bottom, and Mark Vande Hei work to replace the Latching End Effector for the station's robotic Canadarm2 during a 2018 spacewalk. Credit: NASA

Randy Bresnik, backside, and Mark Vande Hei work to switch the Latching Finish Effector for the station’s robotic throughout a 2018 . Credit score: NASA

In keeping with NASA, throughout Vande Hei’s second keep aboard the ISS, he’ll work on a whole lot of experiments in areas starting from research on cotton root methods, Alzheimer’s illness in addition to numerous know-how demonstrations for the company’s Artemis Moon program.

Initially, this flight had the potential to be the primary all-Russian Soyuz flight in additional than twenty years. Vande Hei might be changing Russian cosmonaut Sergei Korsakov. It’s unclear what flight Korsakov might be assigned to as an alternative.

In keeping with NASA, the task of a U.S. astronaut on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft ensures a continued American presence on the ISS ought to there be delays with business crew spacecraft.

This association was made possible by way of a contract with U.S. business firm Axiom House, primarily based in Houston. In keeping with NASA, Axiom has acquired a seat on the Soyuz spacecraft and might be offering it to the U.S. house company in alternate for a seat on a future U.S. business spacecraft, reminiscent of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon or Boeing’s Starliner, “as a part of an area station crew rotation mission.” That launch is predicted someday in 2023.

NASA mentioned that as a result of the providers are decided to be of comparable worth for each (Axiom House and NASA), the contract comprises no alternate of .

Precisely how or when Axiom House acquired the Soyuz seat is unclear.

NASA mentioned it continues to work with Boeing and SpaceX to make sure secure and dependable crew transportation to and from the ISS. SpaceX is already to fly its second operational crew rotation mission to the outpost as early as April 22 with Crew-2.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, left, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, center, and Pyotr Dubrov seen in a picture taken during qualification exams in September 2020. At the time, the trio were assigned as backup crew members for Soyuz MS-17. Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, left, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, heart, and Pyotr Dubrov seen in an image taken throughout qualification exams in September 2020. On the time, the trio had been assigned as backup crew members for Soyuz MS-17. Credit score: NASA

The 4 Crew-2 astronauts — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Company astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European House Company astronaut Thomas Pesquet — are slated to switch the Crew-1 astronauts at the moment aboard the ISS in a direct handover on the finish of April.

The Crew-1 astronauts — NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi — are slated to return to Earth in early Could after being aboard the ISS since November 2020.

In the meantime, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has but to have a profitable uncrewed flight to the ISS. The corporate’s first Orbital Flight Check resulted in close to catastrophe when the spacecraft barely made it into orbit due to numerous pc programing points.

As a result of OFT-1 didn’t have sufficient gasoline to succeed in the ISS safely, it was deorbited and recovered lower than per week later.

The OFT-2 mission is at the moment ready for a handy time to fly to the ISS because the visiting automobile site visitors certain for the outpost is excessive. As of proper now the unpiloted check flight isn’t prone to happen earlier than early Could.

Assuming a profitable OFT-2 mission, a Crew Flight Check will have to be carried out. NASA and Boeing at the moment anticipate that to happen within the second half of 2021.

The primary operational crew rotation flight with a Boeing Starliner is just not anticipated till the primary a part of 2022.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei takes a "space-selfie" during U.S. EVA-47, the first spacewalk of 2018. Credit: Mark Vande Hei / NASA

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei takes a “space-” throughout U.S. EVA-47, the primary spacewalk of 2018. Credit score: Mark Vande Hei / NASA


Derek Richardson has a level in mass media, with an emphasis in modern journalism, from Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. Whereas at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the coed run newspaper, the Washburn Overview. He additionally has a weblog concerning the Worldwide House Station, known as Orbital Velocity.



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