MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. Russian cosmonaut Sergei Korsakov, who was initially expected to fly on Soyuz MS-18 in April, is one of the first Russian candidates for the flight onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, Head of Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Pavel Vlasov said.
"Sergey is one of the first candidates to fly on Crew Dragon, he has passed all the necessary events necessary for preparing space equipment," Vlasov said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station.
Russian state space corporation Roscosmos announced on March 9 that cosmonaut Sergei Korsakov had been excluded from the basic crew of the piloted Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft and would be replaced by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. In the back-up crew, cosmonaut Dmitry Petelin would be replaced by NASA astronaut Anne McClain, it said.
The Soyuz MS-18 flight is scheduled for April 9.
Earlier Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said the state space corporation was not ready yet to send Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed by SpaceX. According to him, the flights could be possible after the US spacecraft’s certification. Now the discussion was about technical consultations on swapping seats.