29 Aug 2023 16:07

Soyuz MS-24 crew arrives at Baikonur for prelaunch preparations

MOSCOW. Aug 29 (Interfax) - The crew of the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft and its backup have arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome to prepare for the flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos' Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure (TsENKI) said on Tuesday.

"Today, on August 29, the crew comprising Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub and NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara, as well as their backups Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson, arrived at the Krainy Airport in Baikonur," the statement said.

Two weeks of training, classes, briefings and medical examinations lie ahead of them, TsENKI said.

Soyuz MS-24 will be launched from Baikonur on September 15, 2023.

Roscosmos said on May 29 that Kononenko and Chub would go on a yearlong mission to the ISS. The unit commander said the cosmonauts would return to Earth at the end of September 2024.

NASA astronaut O'Hara is traveling to the ISS under a cross-flight agreement between Russia and the United States.

In July 2022, Roscosmos and NASA signed an agreement on cross-flights for three Russian cosmonauts using U.S. Crew Dragon spacecraft and three U.S. astronauts on Russian Soyuz MS spacecraft in 2022-2024 as part of the ISS program.

Two ISS missions are underway under the Roscosmos-NASA agreement. Russia's Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft was launched in September 2022 with Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio onboard. They will return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft, which arrived at the ISS in February as a replacement for the damaged Soyuz MS-22. The U.S. Crew Dragon 6 spacecraft, launched in March 2023, brought Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrei Fedyayev to the ISS. Konstantin Borisov was transported to the station by Crew Dragon 7 on August 27.