MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In July this year, Roscosmos State Corporation and NASA signed a cross-flight agreement under which US astronauts will fly on Russian Soyuz spacecraft and Russian cosmonauts on US Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Since May 2021, cosmonaut Anna Kikina has been training as a member of the ISS-67 backup crew, after which, together with cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, she became a member of the ISS-68 prime crew. Under the cross-flight agreement, Anna Kikina was assigned as the Crew-5 Mission Specialist to fly to the International Space Station on the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The launch is scheduled for October 3, 2022.
Today, August 26, an online press conference was held at the Cosmonaut Training Center dedicated to the launch of the program of cross-flights of Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts to the ISS. It was attended by Roscosmos test cosmonaut Anna Kikina, Hero of Russia, pilot-cosmonaut of the Russian Federation, deputy head of the Cosmonaut Training Center – cosmonaut commander Oleg Kononenko, who is undergoing training as part of the ISS-68 backup crew, and Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of Russia, USSR pilot-cosmonaut, executive director for manned space programs of the Roscosmos State Corporation Sergey Krikalev.
Participants answered questions received in advance from media representatives and social media users.
Kikina, when asked about the relationship with the American crew, of which she will become a part of the upcoming flight, answered that they are comfortable, high quality and efficient.
“I am satisfied with the learning process both in the USA and in Russia. I see an interest among all specialists in the fact that manned astronautics lives on, and we continue to fly,” Kikina said.
Oleg Kononenko, in response to a question about the level of training of Kikina, noted her complete readiness to work on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and also spoke about the qualities of a modern cosmonaut.
“A modern cosmonaut must be willing and able to learn, be very sociable, and also work in a different social group and environment. If a person is determined to constantly improve his knowledge, he has a direct road to astronauts, ” Kononenko said.
Kikina will be the first woman in the last eight years to work on the International Space Station as part of the Russian part of the ISS-68 crew. At a press conference, Anna turned to girls who wanted to join the cosmonaut corps:
“Cosmonaut is a very interesting profession, it is available. It is important to meet high professional requirements, but everything is real. If you feel the strength in yourself, then the roads are open, ” Kikina said.
Journalists drew attention to the fact that Russian cosmonauts had not flown on foreign ships for about 20 years. In response, Krikalev spoke about the cross-flight program.
“This project was created to increase resistance to possible emergency situations,” Krikalev said. “The agreement has now been signed for the first three flights, but if the result is positive, we will continue the program.”
The videoconference was held online together with TASS, Roscosmos State Corporation and the Cosmonaut Training Center.