A little while ago the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft reached the International Space Station carrying three new crew members. It blasted off about 6 hours earlier from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz traveled on the fast-track.
The three new members of the International Space Station crew who start the Expedition 58 are:
Oleg Dmitriyevich Kononenko. Born on June 21, 1964 in Chardzhou, now known as Türkmenabat, in the then USSR and today in Turkmenistan, has acquired Russian nationality. He graduated in mechanical engineering at the N. E. Zhukovskiy Kharkiv Aviation Institute in 1988. He started working for the Russian space agency as an engineer and in 1996 was selected as a cosmonaut candidate. After training as backup for International Space Station crews, in 2008 he went there for the first time as part of Expedition 17. He returned to the Station in 2011 as part of the Expedition 30 and was the commander of Expedition 31 returning to Earth in July 2012. He returned to the Station again in 2015 as part of the Expedition 44/45 returning to Earth in December 2015. He completed a total of three spacewalks. In Russia, he received the honors of Hero of the Russian Federation, of Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation and the Medal “For Merit in Space Exploration”. He also received the Star of the President in Turkmenistan and in the U.S.A. NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal and Space Flight Medal. He’s married and has a son and a daughter.
Anne Charlotte McClain. Born on June 7, 1979 in Spokane, Washington, USA, she graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, where she earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 2002. At the British University of Bath she earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2004 and at the British University of Bristol she earned a master’s degree in international security in 2005. When she lived in England she played rugby in the Women’s Premiership and was part of the American national rugby team. She qualified as an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot and participated in missions in Iraq. In 2013 she was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA. She’s at her first space mission.
David Saint-Jacques. Born on 6 January 1970 in Quebec City, Canada, he earned a degree in physical engineering from the École polytechnique de Montréal in 1993 and then a doctorate in astrophysics in 1998 from the British University of Cambridge. He also received a medical degree from the Laval University in 2005. In 2009 he was selected as an astronaut candidate by the Canadian space agency. He’s at his first space mission.
These three new crew members will remain on the International Space Station until June 2019. The failure of the launch of two crew members on October 11, 2018 made the launch today essential to avoid having to abandon the International Space Station. In fact, the three left on their own for many weeks are scheduled to leave on December 19 because the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft is approaching its safety limits. Now the goal is going back to a normal crew rotation.