START CITY (Moscow region), May 31. /TASS/. The Interdepartmental Commission at a meeting in Star City outside Moscow has approved the marks received at a comprehensive exam training by the crews of a new long-term expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) and confirmed their readiness for flight, the Cosmonaut Training Center (CTC) reported on Tuesday.
"The commission approved the main crew of the Soyuz MS spaceship comprising Roscosmos (Russian State Space Corporation) cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins and the Japanese space agency JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi for further spaceflight training," the center said.
The Soyuz MS is the first ship of a new series. Previously, all crews were launched to the orbiting station on the Soyuz TMA-M series spacecraft.
The Commission also confirmed readiness for spaceflight of the backup crew - Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, American astronaut Peggy Whitson and the European Space Agency astronaut, Frenchman Thomas Pesquet.
The final membership of the expedition crews will be approved by the state commission at the Baikonur cosmodrome several days before the launch, which is scheduled for June 24. The next crew for the International Space Station will be lifted on Soyuz MS by the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket from Gagarin’s Start in Baikonur cosmodrome.
During the two-day examination session, the crews coped with all contingency situations, working on replicas of the Russian segment of the ISS and the Soyuz MS spaceship. According to the conclusion of the main medical commission, the main and backup were recognized fit for spaceflight.
This flight will be the second for Ivanishin, and Rubins and Onishi have not flown into space yet. As for the backup crew - Novitsky has performed one flight to the ISS in his career, Whitson - two flights, and only Pesquet has never flown into space.
Soyuz MS (along with Progress MS) is most recent version of Russian workhorse spacecraft. Soyuz in MS version obtained new improved solar arrays and new docking systems (including KURS docking navigation system). New digital computer (instead analog Argon-16) TsVM-101 is lighter and smaller, MBITS telemetry transferring system is increasing safety during docking if ground stations are out of range. GLONASS/GPS/COSPAS-SARSAT navigation provides more accurate data for recovering after landing. Soyuz-FG is upgraded version of Soyuz-ST with more efficient engines, changed propellant composition and improved avionics.