In an unusual news item from Russia’s RiaNovosti news, cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov, who was scheduled to fly to the International Space Station in 2015, has resigned for undisclosed reasons. But one of the heads the Russian Space Corporation Energia, former cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, was quoted by Russian media as saying that Lonchakov had “found a more interesting job.”
The type of new job was not disclosed, but it has to be pretty good to beat flying in space … at least in our opinion.
It’s not that astronauts and cosmonauts haven’t ever quit or retired, but usually they don’t quit when they have a space flight scheduled. Lonchakov was set to fly to the ISS as the commander of Expedition 44 in May 2015 along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly; the latter two are going to be part of an experimental one-year mission on the ISS.
Lonchakov has flown in space three times: on space shuttle Endeavour in 2001 on a construction mission to the ISS, helping to deliver the Canadarm2 Arm, then was part of the Soyuz flight to the ISS in 2002, staying just ten days, and then was part of Expedition 18 to the International Space Station in 2008-2009.
RiaNovosti said Lonchakov will be formally discharged from his job on September 14.
Hat tip: Jeff Foust