The inter-agency commission of the Cosmonauts' Training Center on Friday approved the primary crew lineup for the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft.
The crew consists of Roscosmos (Russia's Federal Space Agency) cosmonauts Aleksandr Samokutyayev and Yelena Serova, as well as NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore. The backup crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Korniyevko, as well as American astronaut Scott Kelly.
The International Space Station (ISS) crew members told journalists that the current geopolitical situation will not interfere with the joint work of Russian and American astronauts. “We carry out work that is necessary for the whole of humanity. There are no borders in space,” said Samokutyayev, in response to journalists’ questions on whether the current geopolitical situation would affect the relationship between astronauts on the ISS.
Members of the space crew work together and support each other, regardless of nationality, gender and religion, he added.
According to Wilmore, there are times in space when his life depends on the Russian cosmonauts and vice versa. In such moments, the absolute trust between crew members is tested and showcased, he said.
Serova agreed with her colleagues and noted that despite any political tensions between their countries, astronauts train together and work towards a common goal.
The upcoming space expedition will be notable for the fact that a Russian woman cosmonaut will take part in a space mission for the first time in the past 20 years. Serova was enrolled in the cosmonauts squad on October 1, 2006. In 2011, by a decision of the inter-agency commission, she was appointed a flight engineer among the primary crew of Soyuz spaceship.
The launch of the manned transport spaceship Soyuz TMA-14M with an international crew on board is scheduled for September 26 (Kazakh time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The ISS crew for the ISS-41/42 mission will stay aboard the station for 168 days. The crew are to handle three Russian resupply spacecraft Progress and a European ATV vehicle. Samokutyayev, together with ISS crew member Maksim Surayev who is currently aboard the ISS, will take a spacewalk.
The crew will perform more than 50 experiments in the Russian segment of the ISS, take a spacewalk, and maintain an Internet blog in orbit, Soyuz crew commander Aleksandr Samokutyayev told a news conference. He said, "The spacewalk will be somewhat unusuall: we shall perform the rolk of cleaners, for it is essential to (dismantle and) remove a certain equipment".
American astronaut Barry Wilmore pointed out that there would be friends, not just crew members on board the spaceship. The astronaut said, "We have been training together for two years. We have got to entirely trust one another to accomplish the space mission".