All news

Toy unicorn chosen as zero-gravity indicator for next mission to ISS

The main indicator is traditionally chosen by the mission’s commander, but other crew members can take their own if they want to

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. A toy unicorn will be used as a zero-gravity indicator aboard the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, which will depart to the International Space Station on September 25, Russian cosmonaut and mission commander Oleg Skripochka said.

Skripochka earlier said the zero gravity indicator will be chosen by his children.

"Unicorn was one of my daughter’s most favorite characters. She used to draw it many, many times. That’s why a toy unicorn was chosen for me, nice and small, so that it does not tamper with anything in the ship. My son gave his approval, too," he said.

The Soyuz MS-15 crew will also include NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and UAE astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri.

Al Mansouri earlier told TASS in an interview that he will take a tiny beige camel as his own zero-gravity indicator.

The main indicator is traditionally chosen by the mission’s commander. Other crew members can take their own indicators if they want to.

Last launch of Soyuz_FG

A Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft will blast off to the ISS at 16:57 Moscow time on September 25 atop the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket. The launch will take place from Baikonur’s famous Launch Pad 1, also known as Gagarin’s Start. The docking is scheduled for 22:45 Moscow time.

It will be the 70th and last launch of a Soyuz-FG rocket. Since 2002, Russia has used Soyuz-FG to deliver international crews to the orbital outpost. From 2020, Russia is set to switch to Soyuz-2.1a rockets, which previously put only space freighters and satellites into orbit.

Moreover, the Gagarin’s Start launch pad - the same pad Yuri Gagarin used during the humanity’s first space flight in 1961 - will be closed for modernization. Instead, launches will be carried out from Site 31, now used for Progress-MS cargo missions to the ISS.

Skripochka and Meir will spend 187 days aboard the ISS. Hazza Al Mansouri will return to the Earth on October 3, 2019, together with Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague.