NASA still “pressing” for a Russian cosmonaut to fly on next SpaceX objective

Seat swap–

” I believe it’s the best thing to do.”

Anna Kikina will be just the fifth Russian woman to go to space.

Enlarge/ Anna Kikina will be simply the 5th Russian female to go to area.


More than 3 months after the intrusion of Ukraine, it is clear from the actions of Russia, the United States, and the International Space Station’s other partners that they want to keep the collectively run center flying above Earth-bound stress.

But among the most significant exceptional concerns is whether the way in which astronauts and cosmonauts reach the spaceport station will alter. Prior to the break out of hostilities, NASA and Russia had actually been preparing to start “seat swaps” this fall, with a cosmonaut, Anna Kikina, flying on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon lorry for the very first time.

Presently, Kikina is set up to introduce as part of the “Crew 5” objective in September, which will be commanded by NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. Around the very same time, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio would release on the Soyuz MS-22 objective, commanded by Sergei Prokopyev.

However, a crucial NASA authorities informed Ars that there is still no main word on whether the swap will occur. The choice rests with diplomats in Moscow and Washington, DC, and need to be settled in the coming weeks.

” It’s a procedure,” stated Joel Montalbano, the Houston-based program supervisor of the International Space Station. “Roscosmos requires to get contract from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and after that they go to their Prime Minister. After that, the arrangement pertains to the United States State Department for approval.”

Montalbano stated he aspires to see the seat swap occur since it ought to assist to strengthen the collaboration that has actually been shaken by Russia’s intrusion of Ukraine. “I’m pressing,” he stated. “I believe it’s the best thing to do, even if it’s occurred with comparable automobiles. We’ll have to see.”

A Russian cosmonaut, Sergei Krikalev, was the very first Russian to fly on a United States area lorry, riding on board NASA’s area shuttle bus in1994 A year later on, NASA astronaut Norman Thagard flew to the Mir spaceport station on a Soyuz lorry. Following the retirement of the area shuttle bus in 2011, NASA needed to depend on Russia for transport to the spaceport station. It ultimately charged NASA about $90 million for a seat, Russia held up its end of the deal by offering dependable transport. NASA no longer requires Russia for this, nevertheless, with Crew Dragon coming online as a functional spacecraft.

A seat swap would be advantageous for factors beyond diplomacy. By flying astronauts on Russian automobiles, NASA can guarantee that it constantly has at least one Western team member onboard the station to keep its side of the center functional throughout handovers from one team to the next.

The stress in Ukraine, nevertheless, have actually raised the stakes. Will Russia desire the optics of among its cosmonauts introducing on a United States rocket? And will the United States State Department desire comparable optics, with NASA astronauts training near Moscow and releasing from Russia’s primary spaceport in Kazakhstan?

For now, the response seems a strong perhaps To that end, Montalbano stated that training continues for a prospective seat swap. Kikina remained in Houston recently, getting ready for her approaching objective. She is anticipated to return in mid-June, he stated, to work both in Houston and at SpaceX’s training centers in Hawthorne, California.

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