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First crewed launch to orbital outpost in 2021 scheduled for April 9

The liftoff will take place on the eve of the jubilee of Cosmonautics Day

MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. An international crew will travel aboard a manned Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 9, Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday.

"We will have the next launch on the eve of the jubilee of Cosmonautics Day. This will take place on April 9. We are sending an international crew," Rogozin said in a new edition of the General Line program posted on Roscosmos’ YouTube channel.

Russia’s inter-agency commission earlier approved the basic crew of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft for a flight to the orbital outpost. It comprises Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Sergei Korsakov.

The commission also approved the backup crew that consists of Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Artemyev and Dmitry Petelin.

NASA earlier reported it was considering getting an additional seat for a US astronaut aboard a Russian Soyuz manned spacecraft to fly to the International Space Station in spring. Roscosmos said at the time it was expecting specific proposals on the flight.