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State commission approves RF-US crew of Soyuz spaceship

May 14, 2012, 9:56 UTC+3

Both crews have fulfilled the training program

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BAIKONUR COSMODROME (Kazakhstan), May 14 (Itar-Tass) — The state commission at a meeting on Monday approved the crew of the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft, which will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, May 15.

The main crew comprises cosmonauts of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos – RKA) Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba, and their backups are RKA cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin, as well as NASA astronaut Kevin Ford.

The launch of the Soyuz FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz TMA-04M manned spacecraft that is to deliver the international crew to the ISS, is scheduled for 06:58 MSK Tuesday from the Gagarin launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Soyuz spaceship’s docking to the ISS is scheduled for May 17 at 08:39 a.m., Moscow time in an automatic mode.

Head of the Russian Cosmonaut Training Centre Sergei Krikalev said at the state commission meeting that both crews have fulfilled the training program.

“By the medical commission decision the (main) crew has been found qualified for the space flight,” he said.

Head of the Energia Rocket Space Corporation Vitaly Lopota for his part said that all the necessary technical operations with the Soyuz GF carrier rocket and ground-based equipment have been carried out within the framework of the preparation for the launch.

“We are fully ready for launch, there are no problems with the equipment,” he said.

Commander of the main crew Gennady Padalka told the state commission members that the crewmembers realise the entire responsibility entrusted to them and will work, using their knowledge and skills acquired during the training for the flight.

Chairman of the state commission - head of the Federal Space Agency Vladimir Popovkin said that he had no doubts that the crew is ready and that its members will implement the whole flight program.

“I am confident in the crew, especially with such an experienced commander as Gennady Ivanovich Padalka. I can now only wish you good luck,” he said.

For Padalka this flight will be the fourth in his space career, for Aqaba - the second (he performed his first flight on a space shuttle in 2009). Revin has not flown into space before.  

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