31 May 2018 19:40

U.S. astronauts to lose ISS crew command for over a year

BAIKONUR. May 31 (Interfax) - American astronauts will not be able to command the International Space Station (ISS) for over a year, a source at Baikonur told Interfax on Thursday.

"U.S. astronaut Andrew Feustel will take over command of the station in June. Then, in October, he will hand over powers as ISS commander to the German astronaut Alexander Gerst. After this, the U.S. command at the ISS will cease for at least one year or a year and half," the source said.

For a year, right until next October, the command of the station will be predominantly by Russians. "Gerst will hand over command of the station to his Russian colleague Alexei Ovchinin in December. Then, in April of 2019, another Russian, Oleg Kononenko, will take over as the ISS commander, who in turn will be succeeded by the cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka in July of 2019," the source said.

The Russians will be followed by the Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano who will take over command in October 2019.

"U.S. astronauts will not be able to retake the post of ISS commander before 2020," the source said.