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STAR CITY (Moscow Region), September 25 (Itar-Tass) — The main and backup crews of the next expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) have successfully passed the qualifying examination and are ready to fly on the Soyuz spaceship, according to the decision made on Tuesday by the interdepartmental commission, the Cosmonaut Training Centre (CTC) told Itar-Tass.
“The main crew is approved as follows: Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Yevgeny Tarelkin and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford,” CTC press secretary Irina Rogova said.
Last Thursday and Friday, Novitsky, Tarelkin and Ford, as well as their backups demonstrated their skills at the Cosmonaut Training Centre on mock-ups of the Russian ISS segment and the Soyuz TMA-M digital series spaceship.
During the integrated training the cosmonauts of the main had not only to cope with several contingencies on the Soyuz spacecraft, but also to deal with the cause of failure of the systems of communication and the station’s oxygen supply, fix the toilet, as well as to extinguish a fire in the Russian segment.
The interdepartmental commission also confirmed readiness for the flight of the backup crewmembers Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov, Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy. They can now relax and think about their future flight, scheduled for March 2013, just after the start of the Soyuz TMA-06M spaceship, which will take the main crew into orbit.
The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome is tentatively scheduled for 14:51 MSK on October 23. The orbital mission of the main crew of the ISS Expedition 33/34 will continue for about five months.