March 10th, 2021
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.
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.
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 set to fly its second operational crew rotation mission to the outpost as early as April 22 with Crew-2.
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.
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.