NASA Names the Next Crew for the Space Station

Image credit: NASA

NASA has named the next crew who will live on board the International Space Station. This time it’s going to be astronaut Michael Foale and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri; both have significant spaceflight experience. Expedition 8 will launch on board a Russian Soyuz rocket on October 18 and dock two days later. Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque will also make the journey to the ISS, but then return 10 days later with the current ISS crew: Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu. ISS will continue to be staffed by two people until the space shuttle returns to regular flights.

Veteran NASA astronaut Michael Foale and seasoned Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri are set to be the eighth crew to live aboard the International Space Station. They’re scheduled to begin their mission in October, when they launch into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Foale will serve as the Expedition 8 Commander and NASA/International Space Station Science Officer. Kaleri will be the Soyuz Commander and Space Station Flight Engineer.

Their mission is scheduled to begin October 18, when the Russian Soyuz TMA-3 launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Pedro Duque, from Spain, will make the outbound trip with Foale and Kaleri as Flight Engineer and return home 10 days later.

On October 20, the three will dock their Soyuz to the Station and begin an eight-day transfer process with the Expedition 7 crew, Commander and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu, NASA/International Space Station Science Officer.

On October 28, Malenchenko, Lu and Duque will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz currently docked to the Station. Malenchenko and Lu have been aboard the Station since late April.

The backup crew for Expedition 8 is veteran NASA astronaut Bill McArthur, a retired U.S. Army colonel; Russian veteran cosmonaut Valery Tokarev, a Russian Air Force colonel; and Duque’s backup is ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers from the Netherlands.

Until the NASA Space Shuttle, with its significant cargo capability, returns to flight, the International Space Station will be staffed with a crew of two instead of three. The smaller crew is big enough to maintain operations on board the Station and small enough to live on a reduced supply of water and other consumables. Foale and Kaleri are scheduled to spend approximately six months on board the Station.

Foale is a veteran of five space flights totaling more than 178 days in space, including more than four months on the Russian Mir Space Station. Kaleri has flown on three previous missions to the Mir and has logged 416 days in space. October’s mission will be Duque’s second space flight, following his mission on the Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) in 1998.

Original Source: NASA News Release