The state commission has approved the crew of the next 65th long-term expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) that will head to the orbital outpost aboard a Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft named after Gagarin from the Baikonur spaceport on April 9, the Roscosmos press office told TASS.
“The basic crew of the manned spacecraft comprises Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov and also NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. The back-up crew includes Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Oleg Artemyev and also NASA astronaut Anne McClain,” Roscosmos said.
A Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket is set to blast off at 10:42 Moscow time on April 9 from Site No. 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. In about nine minutes, the spacecraft will be delivered into orbit. It will take the spacecraft about three hours and a half to reach the orbital outpost under a two-orbit scheme.
During their expedition, Roscosmos cosmonauts Novitsky and Dubrov will carry out over 50 scientific researches and experiments. While working aboard the space station, they will also receive the new Russian research module Nauka whose launch is scheduled for July. Before that, the Pirs module will be undocked and dumped.