The arrival of three new astronauts on the International Space Station completes the Expedition 59 crew

The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A few hours ago the Soyuz MS-12 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 two new members of the crew of the International Space Station, who complete the Expedition 59 crew, are:

Aleksey Ovchinin. Born on September 28, 1971 in Rybinsk, in the then USSR and now in Russia, he graduated as a pilot at the Yeisk Higher Military Pilot School and then served as a pilot instructor and later as a commander of an aviation unit of the 70th Separate Test Training Aviation Regiment of Special Purpose (OITAPON). In 2006 he was selected as a cosmonaut candidate. In 2013 he participated in ESA’s CAVES 2013 training mission spending six days in the Sa Grutta caves, in Sardinia, Italy. He already served on the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 47/48 coming back to Earth on September 7, 2016. He’s married and has one daughter. It was supposed to be part of the Expedition 57/58 but the October 11, 2018 launch was aborted.

Tyler Nicklaus “Nick” Hague. Born September 24, 1975 in Belleville, Kansas, U.S.A., he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School earning a Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering in 1998 and a Master of
Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from M.I.T. then served as an aircraft pilot earning the rank of Colonel. Selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in the 2013 class, his first space mission was supposed to be with the Expedition 57/58 but he was also part of the crew in the aborted launch on October 11, 2018.

Christina Hammock Koch. Born January 29, 1979 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, she earned a Bachelor in Science in electrical engineering and one in physics from North Carolina State University and a Master in Science in electrical engineering. Initially she worked for NASA as an engineer at the Goddard Space Flight Center giving her contribution to the development of various scientific missions. She also served at the Admunsen-Scott South Pole Station and at Palmer Station in Antarctica. After that experience she worked at Johns Hopkins University still contributing to the development of various instruments for the van Allen and the Juno space probes. After another experience at Palmer Station she also worked in Greenland and for NOAA in Alaska. She was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 2013. She’s on her first space mission.

After the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft’s docking with the International Space Station’s Rassvet 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, which also marked the beginning of Expedition 59. Their return to Earth is scheduled, unless there’s a change of plans, for October 2, 2019, at the end of Expedition 60.

With the arrival of Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague, the International Space Station is at full crew again. As was announced immediately after the aborted launch, the two crew members of the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft in that unfortunate flight quickly got another seat in the crew rotation. Above all, it was important to have the full crew again to fully resume their research activities.

Christina Koch, Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Christina Koch, Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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