MOSCOW, November 19. / TASS /. The crew of the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft consisting of cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who will be the first TASS correspondent onboard the orbital outpost, Japanese billionaire Yusako Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano flew to Baikonur in order to complete preparations for the flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos stated on Friday.
"Today, on November 19, 2021, at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, the crew members were escorted to the Baikonur," the statement reads.
A backup crew, which includes cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Xiong Ogiso, also flew to the cosmodrome.
In Star City, the crew members had breakfast with their relatives, colleagues and friends, after that, according to a well-established tradition, they went to the stele of Lenin. The cosmonauts were escorted by the training center’s management and staff, representatives of space agencies and space tourism companies as well as by their colleagues and families.
The launch of the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft to the ISS with two space tourists is scheduled for December 8, with the flight lasting 12 days. The spacecraft will be operated by cosmonaut Misurkin.
On November 17, TASS and the Russian space corporation Roscosmos signed a memorandum of cooperation to open a permanent bureau on the ISS. The first TASS correspondent in orbit will be Hero of Russia, cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. His task will be to report on the space station’s daily routine. His reports will be available to the agency’s readership from TASS news resources and his photo and video contributions will be uploaded to the agency’s website and official pages on social media.