Crew Heads to Launch Site Friday, First Commercial Crew Announced

Expedition 44/45 Crew Members
At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Expedition 44/45 crew members (from left) Kjell Lindgren of NASA; Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency; and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency pose for pictures following a news conference July 8. Credit: NASA/Seth Marcantel

The International Space Station will get an orbital boost tonight to get ready for upcoming Soyuz crew missions. On the ground, three new crew members are preparing for their Friday departure to the launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The orbiting Expedition 44 trio, with Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, is looking forward to expanding to three new crew members. Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui will take a six-hour ride July 22 in the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft for a five month stay in space.

On the station, Kelly is getting Japan’s Kibo airlock ready for next week’s deployment of 16 Cubesats over four days. Kornienko continued moving supplies from the new ISS Progress 60 space freighter. Padalka worked on the Vozdukh, a Russian carbon dioxide removal system, the Zvezda service module. All the crew members then practiced emergency evacuation procedures.

NASA announced today that four astronauts have been selected to train on commercial crew vehicles. Veteran astronauts Robert Behnken, Sunita Williams, Eric Boe and Douglas Hurley are now training for a commercial crew launch in 2017 as part of NASA’s journey to Mars.

Commercial Crew Astronauts
The first astronauts selected to train to fly to space on commercial crew carriers are (from left) Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Sunita Williams

5 thoughts on “Crew Heads to Launch Site Friday, First Commercial Crew Announced”

  1. God Speed! Enjoy you out of this world experience! Can wait to see all your pictures and watch you float in the space craft! Becareful when you are walking in space and putting the blanket on your baby(space station. There is one thing I have been wondering about….they sent a coffee maker up there. How does it work with no gravity? I have learned so much from all the information from NASSA and you Kjell, it has help me get even closer to my 9year old grandson, Ethan. Ethan is going to camp at NASTAR which train crews for the space stations to come. He has seen all the equipment that you train on and loves going into the airplane simulator. They said he was the first camper that took his plane up and landed with out crashing. So day maybe he will join your ranks. My thoughts are with the three of you, but Kjell is a friend to my son in law. May force be with you!

    1. Gennady Padalka is the space station commander. Padalka will hand over station command to NASA astronaut Scott Kelly in early September.

  2. I remenber Yuri Gagarin
    and Discovery .,,.
    On the next exploration.
    Dream of mankind spread away more and
    I desire mankind will reach
    smoothly to Mars.
    Very thanks for lots of dreams on various aspects.
    We are keep on dreaming of respectful astronauts.

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