The arrival of three new astronauts on the International Space Station completes the Expedition 60 crew

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo NASA/Joel Kowsky)
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket (Photo NASA/Joel Kowsky)

A few hours ago the Soyuz MS-13 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 60 are:

Alexander Skvortsov. Born on May 6, 1966 at Schelkovo, in the Moscow region, in the then USSR, graduated from the Stavropol Air Force Pilot and Navigator School as a pilot-engineer in 1987 and at the Red Banner Military Air Defense Academy in 1997. Subsequently, he was selected as a cosmonaut candidate and started space training. He’s already been on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 23, as commander of Expedition 24 and again as part of Expedition 39/40, concluded with his return to Earth on September 11, 2014. He has already received a number of Russian awards including Hero of the Russian Federation honor.

Luca Parmitano. Born on September 26, 1976 in Paternò, Italy, earned a degree in Political Science at the University of Naples Federico II in 1999 and in 2000 graduated from the Accademia Aeronautica in Pozzuoli, Italy. Trained as a airplane pilot, on May 11, 2005 he was hit during a flight by a stork that seriously damaged his airplane but instead of ejecting he managed to bring it back to the ground even though it was very difficult to control it. For this reason, he was awarded the Silver Medal for Aeronautical value. In 2009 he obtained a degree in Engineering of Experimental Flight at the Higher Institute of Aeronautics and Space in Toulouse, France. In that year he was selected as an astronaut by ESA. He already served on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 36/37, concluded with his return to Earth on November 11, 2013, during which he carried out two spacewalks even though the second one was interrupted due to a water leak that was filling his space suit’s helmet.

Andrew Richard “Drew” Morgan. Born on February 5, 1976 in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, he attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned a bachelor degree in Environmental Engineering in 1998. After starting his service in the US Army with various duties, he also earned a doctorate in medicine from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, in 2002. He reached the rank of colonel. He was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 2013. He’s married and has four children. He’s on his first space mission.

After the Soyuz MS-13 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, which also marked the beginning of Expedition 60. Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano’s return to Earth is scheduled for February 2020, unless there’s a change of plans, at the end of Expedition 61, while Andrew Morgan will remain on the Station for an extended mission.

Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano in front of the Soyuz rocket (Photo Andrey Shelepin/GCTC)
Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano in front of the Soyuz rocket (Photo Andrey Shelepin/GCTC)

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