NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hai and Anne McClain are preparing to fly to the International Space Station, training takes place at the Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow.
The Soyuz MS-18 launch by the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome is scheduled for April 9. The crew includes the Russians Oleg Novitsky, Peter Dubrov and Sergey Korsakov. In December 2020, agency sources said that the United States, through the private company Axiom Space, could reserve a seat for the Wande Hai flight. If a contract is concluded, the American will replace Korsakov.
NASA today confirmed that it is considering such a possibility. McClain is Wande Hai’s stunt double, one source said. Another source added that astronaut training began back in January.
Another interlocutor said that both astronauts visited the Zvezda research and production enterprise, a manufacturer of space suits and armchairs for the Soyuz spacecraft. If Wanda Hai has a flight suit and a lodgment for the chair, since he was a backup for the previous Soyuz crew, then the spacesuit and lodgment for McClane are made.
Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, American astronauts Kathleen Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Japanese Soichi Noguchi are currently working on the ISS.
Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov and Rubins will return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft on April 17, the rest on the Crew Dragon spacecraft are scheduled to land in late April – early May.
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