A few hours ago, the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after a little more than three hours reached the International Space Station with three new crew members on board. It docked with the Station’s Rassvet module. As is becoming increasingly common for crewed trips as well, the ultra-fast track was used which halves the journey duration.
The three new members of the crew of the International Space Station, who complete the last phase of Expedition 69 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 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 and in 2018 as part of Expedition 58/59 serving again as the Station’s commander. He completed a total of four 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.
Nikolay Aleksandrovich Chub. Born on June 10, 1984, in Novocherkassk, in the then USSR and today in Russia, he earned a degree in management and informatics from the Novocherkassk Polytechnic Institute in 2006 and subsequently also in economics. In 2012 he was selected as a cosmonaut candidate. In 2019 he participated in the ESA CAVES mission in Italy and Slovenia. This is his first space mission.
Loral Ashley O’Hara. Born on May 3, 1983, in Houston, Texas, USA, she earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas at Lawrence in 2005 and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University in 2009. In 2003 she participated in an internship at NASA’s JPL, in 2004 at the NASA Academy at Goddard Space Flight Center, and in 2005 at NASA’s KC-135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight program. She was selected as an astronaut candidate in 2017. She is on her first space mission.
Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub will spend about a year on the International Space Station while Loral O’Hara will spend about six months there and return to Earth with different traveling companions. Expedition 69 is almost over, as in less than two weeks, the crew members who’ve been on the Station for a year will return to Earth marking the start of Expedition 70.