15 Mar 2019 12:40

Two U.S. astronauts to stay at ISS longer due to 1st UAE's astronaut's mission - NASA associate administrator

BAIKONUR. March 15 (Interfax) - U.S. astronauts Christina Koch, who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, and Drew Morgan, a member of the next crew, will stay at the ISS longer than planned, NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier said at a press conference following the Soyuz MS-12 launch and docking with the station.

NASA and Roscosmos are updating the 2019 flight program, Gerstenmaier said. He explained the possible extension of Koch's and Morgan's stay as being due to the mission of the United Arab Emirates' first astronaut.

It was reported earlier that one of the U.S. astronauts, who arrived at the ISS on Friday, might stay longer than 204 days because of the mission of the first astronaut of the United Arab Emirates, which begins on September 25. The UAE astronaut will spend several days in orbit and leave on board the Soyuz MS-12 landing capsule.

As before, the Soyuz MS-12 will be flying under the command of Alexei Ovchinin. Nick Hague will take the second seat, while the third seat will be assigned to the UAE's astronaut. Koch will stay at the ISS and return on the next ship.