A few hours ago the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after a little more than six hours reached the International Space Station with three astronauts on board.
The three new members of the crew of the International Space Station, who complete the crew of Expedition 61 are:
Oleg Skripochka. Born on December 24, 1969 in Nevinnomyssk, in the then USSR and now in Russia. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering and rocket construction at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University then worked for the aerospace company Energia RSC. In 1997 he was selected as a cosmonaut candidate and was part of the International Space Station Expedition crew during Expedition 25/26 and later of Expedition 47/48 coming back to Earth on September 7, 2016. On the Station he participated in three spacewalks.
Jessica Ulrika Meir. Born on July 1, 1977 in Caribou, Maine, USA, to an Israeli father and Swedish mother, she started taking an interest in space missions at a very young age by watching Space Shuttle missions, participating in a youth camp at Purdue University and conducting an experiment for a NASA program while studying at Brown University. In 2000 she earned a Master in Space Studies at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. In 2009 she earned a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For some years she conducted various scientific researches, also working for Lockeed Martin on NASA projects. In 2002 she was part of the NEEMO 4 underwater expedition. In 2013 she was chosen as an astronaut candidate. She’s on her first space mission.
On the spacecraft there was a third passenger, Hazza Al Mansouri. Born on December 13, 1983 in Abu Dhabi, he became a cosmonaut thanks to a collaboration program between the United Arab Emirates and Russia, training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. He will spend only 8 days on the International Space Station but will still conduct a number of scientific experiments.
After the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft’s docking with the International Space Station’s Zvezda module, the procedures that led to the opening of the hatch begun. The new crew members entered the Station, where they were greeted by their colleagues with a short welcome ceremony. Oleg Skripochka and Jessica Meir will conduct a normal mission on the International Space Station while Christina Koch, who arrived as part of Expedition 59, will stay on the Station for an extended mission. This exceptional crew rotation is the reason why until October 3 there will be 9 people on the Station, a rare event.