BAIKONUR /Kazakhstan/, July 19. /TASS/. Russia’s state commission has approved a new crew for a long-term expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) that will travel to the orbital outpost from the Baikonur space center aboard the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft on July 20, a spokesperson for the Cosmonaut Training Center said on Friday.
"Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and astronauts Andrew Morgan (NASA) and Luca Parmitano (the European Space Agency) have been approved as the main crew," the spokesperson said.
The backup crew comprises Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov, NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
A Soyuz-FG launch vehicle with the crewed Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft is set to blast off from launch site No. 1 (Gagarin’s Start) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 7.28pm Moscow time on July 20. The manned spacecraft will deliver the next expedition’s crew to the International Space Station using a six-hour flight scheme.
Overall, the ISS-60/61 expedition crewmembers are set to carry out almost 50 applied research experiments, five of which will be conducted in an autonomous mode, without the crew’s participation.
The cosmonauts and astronauts will also handle Progress MS resupply ships and a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft that will be launched in its crewless version, and also the android robot Fedor.
During the space expedition, first astronaut of the United Arab Emirates Hazza al-Mansouri will travel to the orbital outpost where he will stay for about a week, after which he will return to Earth together with the crew of the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft. Currently, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch are staying on the space station.