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Higher Late Than By no means: New ISS Crew Prepares to Fly, All-Feminine EVAs Attainable in October

Soyuz MS-24 crewmembers Oleg Kononenko (middle) and Nikolai Chub (proper) are aiming for a full yr on the Worldwide House Station (ISS), while the stay-time of Loral O’Hara is anticipated for 192 days, ending in March 2024. Photograph Credit score: NASA, by way of Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Three spacefarers from Russia and the USA will fly six months later than supposed on Friday, 15 September, when Soyuz MS-24 launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to set the ultimate items in place on the Worldwide House Station (ISS) for a busy Expedition 70. NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara—initially scheduled to fly aboard Soyuz MS-23 in March, earlier than all missions shifted one flight to the appropriate—can be accompanied by seasoned cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, at present the world’s sixth most skilled spacefarer, and fellow “rookie” Nikolai Chub.

Video Credit score: NASA

Based mostly on present plans, Kononenko and Chub will spend a full yr aboard the sprawling orbital complicated, returning to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-26 in September 2024. Assuming that schedule holds, it’ll make them the seventh and eighth people to cross a cumulative three hundred and sixty five days in orbit on a single mission and will set up Kononenko—who presently boasts 736 days throughout his 4 prior flights—because the world’s most skilled spacefarer, the primary particular person to cross 1,000 days off the House Planet.

Their lengthy mission has been enabled due to plans to fly Belarusian cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya on Soyuz MS-25 subsequent March for a brief, week-long keep on the ISS. Her commander on that flight, anticipated to be veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, will fly to and from house shoulder-to-shoulder with Vasilevskaya, and in addition returning dwelling with the pair can be O’Hara, wrapping up six months aboard the orbital complicated.

The result’s that the Soyuz “return” seats which could ordinarily have been for Kononenko and Chub will thus be taken by Novitsky and Vasilevskaya, requiring the 2 cosmonauts to embark on an ultra-long-duration ISS marathon. Throughout their keep, Kononenko and Chub might execute as many as 4 classes of Extravehicular Exercise (EVA)—a primary as quickly as subsequent month, a second in December and two extra within the first half of 2024—as Russia completes the combination of its Nauka (“Science”) analysis lab into the ISS.

Two U.S. spacewalks are additionally deliberate within the October timeframe. “One can be to gather floor samples of assorted areas of the U.S. section for evaluation of compound build-up,” defined NASA’s Rob Navias. “The opposite is to finish the retrieval of the Radio Frequency (RF) group {hardware} that might not be accomplished in a previous spacewalk.”

With two U.S. EVAs deliberate within the October 2023 timeframe, there stays a chance of one other all-female spacewalk later this fall. Photograph Credit score: NASA

Subsequent 4 February, Kononenko will exceed fellow cosmonaut Gennadi Padalka’s empirical profession complete of 878 days, established throughout 5 Mir and ISS long-duration stays between August 1998 and September 2015. And earlier than the top of Could 2024, he’ll grow to be the primary particular person in historical past to have spent 1,000 days—equal to about 33 months or almost three years of a human lifetime—away from Planet Earth. Returning dwelling in late September, Kononenko will push that lead nonetheless additional to greater than 1,100 days, which works out to virtually 37 months or only a tad greater than three full years.

Born within the Turkmen metropolis of Chardzhou (at present’s Türkmenabat) in October 1964, the 58-year-old Kononenko graduated from Kharkov Aviation Institute as a mechanical engineer with a specialism in plane engines. He later accomplished postgraduate research on the Kuibyshev Aviation Institute, the place he labored in automated management methods design earlier than choice for cosmonaut coaching in 1996.

Commander Oleg Kononenko has already accomplished 4 long-duration ISS increments. Photograph Credit score: NASA

A prolonged await house finally noticed Kononenko fly 4 long-duration ISS missions, the primary in April-October 2008, a second from December 2011 to July 2012, a 3rd between July and December of 2015 and a most up-to-date increment from December 2018 by June of 2019. Throughout his expansive profession, he has made 5 EVAs, totaling over 32 cumulative spacewalking hours, a complete Kononenko ought to double on his upcoming ISS keep.

Serving as Soyuz MS-24’s Flight Engineer One is 39-year-old Nikolai Chub, born in June 1984 within the Russian metropolis of Novocherkassk. He graduated as an engineer from the South Russian State Technical College and is an completed parachutist and “wingsuit” formation-flyer. Chub entered the cosmonaut coaching program in October 2012 and, with Kononenko and O’Hara, served on Soyuz MS-22’s backup crew final fall.

Nikolai Chub can be making his first flight. Photograph Credit score: Roscosmos, by way of Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Sitting within the Flight Engineer-Two seat is NASA’s Loral O’Hara, born in Houston, Texas, in Could 1983. Forty years outdated, she gained a bachelor’s diploma in aerospace engineering from the College of Kansas and a grasp’s credential in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue, additionally taking part—while nonetheless an undergraduate—in NASA’s KC-135 Lowered Gravity Scholar Flight Alternatives Program on the Goddard House Flight Heart (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md.

After commencement, O’Hara served as a analysis engineer on the Woods Gap Oceanographic Establishment in Woods Gap, Mass. Chosen into NASA’s June 2017 astronaut consumption (“the Turtles”), she certified for flight project two years later and has been in devoted coaching for a Soyuz flight since 2021.

Loral O’Hara and Frank Rubio take part in Extravehicular Exercise (EVA) coaching on the Johnson House Heart (JSC) in Houston, Texas. Photograph Credit score: NASA

Backing up Kononenko, Chub and O’Hara have been, initially, veteran cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin, seasoned NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson and “rookie” Oleg Platonov. Nonetheless, for causes which stay unclear, Platonov was final month dropped from the Soyuz MS-24 backup crew, that means that within the unlikely eventuality that the backups wind up flying the mission on the final second, solely two—Ovchinin and Caldwell-Dyson—will fly, somewhat than three, decreasing Expedition 70 in measurement from seven to 6 members.

Kononenko, Chub and O’Hara have been initially pointed to fly Soyuz MS-23 in March, however following the invention of a leak within the on-orbit Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft final December, Roscosmos and NASA elected to fly MS-23 in an uncrewed capability to supply return surety for for Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA’s Frank Rubio. As such, all subsequent crews moved one flight to the appropriate and Kononenko, Chub and O’Hara wound up getting reassigned to Soyuz MS-24 in September.

Prime crewmembers Loral O’Hara, Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, adopted by backups Alexei Ovchinin and Tracy Caldwell Dyson arrive at Baikonur on 30 August. Photograph Credit score: Roscosmos

Liftoff is at present focused for 8:44 p.m. Baikonur time (11:44 a.m. EDT) on Friday, 15 September, after which the three people will spend slightly greater than three hours in transit to the ISS, docking on the station’s Earth-facing (or “nadir”) Rassvet port on their second orbit of the House Planet. After pressurization and leak checks, Kononenko, Chub and O’Hara can be welcomed aboard by Expedition 69 Commander Sergei Prokopyev, his Russian crewmates Dmitri Petelin and Konstantin Borisov, Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa and NASA astronauts Frank Rubio and Jasmin Moghbeli.

Their time collectively can be quick. Following a two-week handover, Prokopyev will hand over command to Mogensen, who will lead Expedition 70 and grow to be the primary Dane to helm the orbiting outpost, earlier than boarding Soyuz MS-23 with Petelin and Rubio and returning to Earth on the twenty seventh after 371 days in house.

Starting later in September, Andreas Mogensen will command Expedition 70, to be adopted by Roscosmos commanders Oleg Kononenko (Expedition 71) and Alexei Ovchinin (Expedition 72). Photograph Credit score: NASA

Expedition 70 will then start as a seven-member crew, beneath Mogensen’s command, with a busy fall and winter forward of them. Already berthed or docked on the ISS are Northrop Grumman Corp.’s NG-19 Cygnus and Russia’s Progress MS-23 and MS-24 cargo ships, the primary slated to depart in late October, the others on the finish of November and in some unspecified time in the future within the February timeframe.

Apparently, the U.S. Operational Section (USOS) crew for the autumn and winter consists of a Dane, a Japanese and, for the primary time, an all-female U.S. presence. And that raises the tantalising prospect—”Crewmembers nonetheless TBD,” Mr. Navias informed AmericaSpace—that at the very least one of many U.S. EVAs in October could possibly be an all-female affair, choosing up the baton from an earlier trio of spacewalks by Expedition 61’s Christina Koch and Jessica Meir between October 2019 and January 2020.

Between October 2019 and January 2020, Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch carried out the world’s first three all-female EVAs. There stays a chance that Expedition 70’s Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara might repeat the achievement in October. Photograph Credit score: NASA

One other research-laden SpaceX Cargo Dragon (CRS-29) will arrive for a month-stay in early November, adopted by Russia’s Progress MS-25 in early December and Northrop Grumman’s NG-20 Cygnus—launched, for the primary time, by a Falcon 9—a few weeks forward of Christmas. Transferring into the New 12 months, Houston, Texas-based AxiomSpace, Inc., anticipates flying its Ax-3 crewed analysis mission in January, with Crew-8 anticipated to launch in February and Soyuz MS-25 in mid-March.

Additionally positioned someplace in that tight schedule is the long-awaited Crew Flight Take a look at (CFT) of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, anticipated to fly no prior to early March with NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams. With the arrival of Crew-8’s quartet of NASA astronauts Matt Dominick, Mike Barratt and Jeanette Epps, along with Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Grebyonkin, the Crew-7 quartet of Moghbeli, Mogensen, Furukawa and Borisov will return to Earth in late February after six months in orbit.

The long-awaited Crew Flight Take a look at (CFT) of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner might happen as early as March 2024. Photograph Credit score: NASA

With Mogensen’s departure, command of the ISS will cross to Oleg Kononenko, who will lead Expedition 71 till his and Chub’s return to Earth after 375 days in September 2024. And O’Hara herself is slated to return aboard Soyuz MS-25 with Novitsky and Marina Vasilevskaya on about 25 March, wrapping up a 192-day keep on the ISS.

Apparently, the station could have a pair of back-to-back Russian commanders shifting from 2024 into 2025. Veteran cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin—at present slated to steer Soyuz MS-26 in September 2024—will command Expedition 72 into the spring of 2025.

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