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Russia’s Soyuz MS-24 manned spacecraft to blast off from Baikonur

The launch of the manned transport spacecraft Soyuz MS-24 is scheduled for 18:44:35

BAIKONUR /Kazakhstan/, September 15. /TASS/. A Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, carrying a new long-duration expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), will blast off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Friday evening.

The Soyuz MS-24 manned transport spacecraft is scheduled to be launched at 6:44:35 p.m. from Baikonur’s Launch Pad 31. The flight will be carried under the super-short two-orbit flight scheme, and the spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the Rassvet module of the ISS at 9:57 p.m. Moscow time on Friday.

The crew of the 70th and 71st space expeditions to the orbital outpost comprises Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolay Chub and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara. Their backup teammates are Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and Tracy Dyson.

It will be Kononenko’s fifth flight to the ISS and the first for Chub and O’Hara.

O’Hara will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft in the spring of 2024, while the space mission of Kononenko and Chub will last until September next year. Upon completing their mission, the Russian cosmonauts will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft. Kononenko may become the Earth’s first human to spend over 1,000 days in space as part of his year-long expedition.

The spacecraft is also loaded with around 120 kg of payload, including photo and video equipment, food rations, personal items and equipment for scientific experiments.

According to the cosmonaut, over 70 experiments are planned for the upcoming expedition, 7 of them will be carried for the first time. Besides, Kononenko and Chub are expected to perform four spacewalks. The first one of them is expected to take place in October or November, while three more are due in 2024.

New TASS special correspondent

On November 17, 2021, TASS and Roscosmos signed a memorandum of cooperation, according to which the news agency opened an office onboard the ISS. Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin was the first special correspondent on the ISS. His flight lasted 12 days. He was succeeded by Oleg Artemyev in March 2022. Now Dmitry Petelin is working at the TASS correspondent office on the ISS.

Deputy chief of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Oleg Kononenko, who will depart for the International Space Station (ISS) in mid-September, will become the fourth TASS special reporter on board the station. He will carry the news agency’s space mascot toy Inotasya, whose design and name was chosen by the TASS staff.