Roscosmos selects first cosmonaut for commercial crew flights

WASHINGTON — The pinnacle of Roscosmos introduced Dec. 8 that the company has chosen the primary cosmonaut to go on a SpaceX business crew mission to the Worldwide House Station, though a seat barter settlement between NASA and Roscosmos remains to be being finalized.

Dmitry Rogozin, director common of Roscosmos, tweeted Dec. 8 that cosmonaut Anna Kikina will go to the ISS within the fall of 2022 “as a part of the crew of an American business spacecraft.” In alternate, a NASA astronaut can be a part of a crew of a Soyuz mission to the station launching in the identical time-frame.

Kikina is the one lady at the moment energetic within the Russian cosmonaut corps. She was chosen in 2012 however has but to fly in area, though Rogozin and different Russian officers had beforehand mentioned she would fly within the fall of 2022. She would seemingly be on the Crew-5 Crew Dragon mission, to which NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada and JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata are at the moment assigned.

Neither Rogozin nor Roscosmos supplied further particulars in regards to the flight, with Roscosmos merely tweeting a quote from Rogozin’s assertion.

Rogozin’s remark, although, urged that Roscosmos and NASA had accomplished a long-sought settlement to swap seats on Soyuz and business crew missions, creating what NASA has referred to as “blended crews” on these autos. That method ensures that there can be at the least one Roscosmos cosmonaut and one NASA astronaut on the station at any time ought to both Soyuz or business crew autos be grounded for an prolonged interval.

Regardless of the assertion by Rogozin, a NASA spokesman mentioned late Dec. 8 that the businesses have been nonetheless working to finish a seat barter settlement. “As deliberate, NASA and Roscosmos are finalizing the small print to an settlement the place we would typically fly astronauts and cosmonauts to the Worldwide House Station on one another’s spacecraft,” Josh Finch mentioned in an announcement to SpaceNews. “In parallel, we can be conducting the required coaching for built-in crew operations. We sit up for continued worldwide cooperation aboard the area station.”

Finch confirmed that the Crew-5 mission stays scheduled for the autumn of 2022. “We’ll present further info on crew assignments sooner or later,” he mentioned.

The efforts to finalize a seat barter settlement come throughout heightened geopolitical tensions between Russia and the US as Russia strikes navy forces to its borders with Ukraine. U.S. officers have warned in current days that Russia could also be making ready for an invasion of Ukraine early subsequent 12 months.

The impact any navy motion may need on U.S.-Russian cooperation on the ISS stays unclear. Such cooperation was largely unaffected by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and incursion into jap Ukraine, given the mutual dependence the 2 nations have on one another for ISS operations.

The White Home, in a readout after a Dec. 7 video name between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, mentioned Biden knowledgeable Putin that the U.S. and its allies “would reply with sturdy financial and different measures within the occasion of navy escalation.” The readout didn’t elaborate on these measures, and didn’t particularly point out any results on area cooperation.

In a later briefing with reporters, Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned the Biden administration wouldn’t publicly focus on specifics about measures it might take if Russia invaded Ukraine. “However we’re laying out for the Russians in some element the sorts of measures that we take into account,” he mentioned, working in coordination with European governments.

He added that “that issues we didn’t do in 2014 we’re ready to do now.”

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