A fresh crew is scheduled to embark on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this Friday

Aiming to replace three astronauts who found themselves in a year-long space mission due to severe damage to their spacecraft. NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, along with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, are slated to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:44 pm, UAE time.

Their mission is to take over from US astronaut Frank Rubio and Russia’s Dmitry Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, who are expected to return to Earth on September 27.

According to NASA, O’Hara, who embarks on a six-month mission aboard the station, and Kononenko and Chub, who are embarking on a year-long stay on the orbital outpost, will undertake a quick two-orbit, three-hour trajectory culminating in a docking to the station’s Rassvet module at 2:56 pm (10:56 am GST). Shortly after, the hatches between the station and the Soyuz will open, welcoming the new crew aboard.

The year-long mission arose due to unforeseen circumstances. Mr. Frank Rubio and his two Russian colleagues initially embarked on their ISS mission on September 21, 2022, with a planned six-month duration. However, three months into their mission, their Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft suffered irreparable damage, reportedly from a meteor strike that led to a coolant leak. Returning on the damaged craft was deemed too perilous, prompting NASA and Russian officials to extend their mission by six months. A rescue craft, the Soyuz MS-23, arrived at the station in February with 430 kg of supplies and will be used to bring the astronauts back to Earth.

This extended stay in space has led Mr. Rubio to establish a new US record for the longest spaceflight by an astronaut, with 371 days in space upon his return, surpassing NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei’s previous record of 355 days. NASA administrator Bill Nelson expressed his gratitude to Mr. Rubio for his service during a live call on Wednesday.

Mr. Rubio’s colleagues also commended his contributions to the space station. US astronaut Woody Hoburg, who recently concluded a six-month mission, praised Mr. Rubio’s leadership and the sacrifices he made by being away from his family for an extended period.

Additionally, this prolonged mission means that Russian cosmonauts Mr. Petelin and Mr. Prokopyev will set a new record for the longest spaceflight by Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS, surpassing the record set by their colleagues Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, who spent 355 days in space.

The replacement crew for this mission includes Ms. O’Hara, Mr. Chub, and Mr. Kononenko. This marks the first spaceflight for Ms. O’Hara and Mr. Chub, while Mr. Kononenko is embarking on his fifth mission. The Russian cosmonauts will spend a year on the ISS and plan to return on the Soyuz MS-26 spacecraft in September 2024, while Ms. O’Hara will remain on the station for six months. During a briefing on August 23, Ms. O’Hara mentioned that she had a video chat with Frank Rubio, who was on board the space station, eagerly waiting for her arrival to take his place and return home.

Post Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No North Headlines journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

Add Comment