5 Dec 2019 09:55

Next ISS crew to fly to Baikonur on board new Tu-204 jetliner

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) - Two Tupolev Tu-204-300 jetliners, which were built for the Cosmonaut Training Center and arrived at Chkalovsky Airfield in spring 2019, have been accepted by the customer, the Cosmonaut Training Center's press service said in a statement.

"Rosaviatsiya has issued state registration certificates for the Yury Gagarin and Sergei Korolyov aircraft," the statement said.

"Crews will travel to Baikonur in 2020 to prepare for their flight on board the new jetliners," it said.

The two Tu-204-300 aircraft were delivered to the Cosmonaut Training Center's aviation unit by Ilyushin Finance Co. under the government contract in spring. They were expected to start transporting crews to Baikonur as early as in 2019, still the crews continued to travel on board Tu-134 planes, which had been in service for years.

The new planes have 53 seats each, including six cabins. Before the delivery, adjustments were made to their toilets and electrical and other systems to facilitate the crews' travel before their long-term zero-gravity mission.

The planes have a satellite communication system.

For security reasons, ISS crews and their backups travel to the cosmodrome by different planes.