All-Russian crew to take Russia’s next flight to ISS

MOSCOW, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — An all-Russian crew was formed Tuesday for the next flight to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled in April 2021, more than two decades after an all-Russian team was last established for a trip to the Mir Space Station in 2000.

The Russian Interdepartmental Commission for the Selection of Cosmonauts has approved the main and backup crews for the 65th expedition to the ISS, the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos said in a statement.

The main crew consists of three astronauts — Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Sergei Korsakov — who will take Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the ISS.

For years, Russian spaceships have been the only ones used for spaceflights to the ISS, with U.S. astronauts being the largest group of foreign passengers.

The Crew Dragon “Endeavor” spacecraft, built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, successfully sent two U.S. astronauts to the ISS on May 31 and returned them back to Earth two months later.

The mission was the first crewed launch to orbit from U.S. soil since NASA’s shuttle program ended in 2011, which was also SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

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