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MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Two of the four space crews Russia’s Soyuz vehicles will take to the International Space Station ISS in 2017 will consist of two members, in contrast to the usual three, the Roscosmos corporation has said.
According to a statement from the space corporation’s press-service obtained by TASS, the main crew of the 51st/52nd expedition on board the ISS will consist of Russia’s Fyodor Yurchikhin and US astronaut Jack Fischer.
The next expedition (52/53) to go to the ISS is Russia’s Sergey Ryazansky, US astronaut Randolph Bresnik and European astronaut Paolo Nespoli. Next year’s third expedition (53/54) will be by a joint Russian-US crew of two - Aleksandr Misurkin and Mark Vande Hei. And expedition 54/55’s crew is Russia’s Aleksandr Skvortsov, US astronaut Scott Tingle and Japan’s Norishige Kanai.
Roscosmos did not specify the launch dates. According to the previous plans, Russia’s younger generation cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Ivan Vagner were to make flights to the ISS in 2017.
Earlier reports said that starting from March next year the Russian crew will be reduced from three to two. As Roscosmos explained, the crews will be reduced until Russia’s ISS segment incorporates a new multi-purpose laboratory module Nauka, to be put in space at the end of 2017.
A source in the space rocket industry earlier told TASS the crews would have to be reduced because cargo space vehicles Progress would be launched three times a year instead of four. With the commissioning of its own space vehicles the United States will stop using the services of Russia’s cargo vehicles.