BAIKONUR COSMODROME, September 15 The Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and the American Loral O'Hara docked at the International Space Station, the correspondent reports.
The rocket took off from launch pad No. 31 at Baikonur at 18.44 Moscow time. A few minutes later, she launched the ship into low Earth orbit, it separated from its third stage and began an independent flight to the ISS.
Kononenko, who is also the commander of the Russian cosmonaut corps, is making the fifth flight of his career. Chub and O'Hara are flying into space for the first time. Kononenko and Chub will spend a year on the ISS, O'Hara – six months. Following the results of this flight, the commander of the Russian detachment will become the first person to spend more than a thousand days in space in total. His mission will last 375 days, and the total flight time after that will be 1111 days.
About 60 scientific experiments are planned for the Russians, including seven new ones, and up to four spacewalks.
The crew of Soyuz MS-24 will replace Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, as well as American astronaut Frank Rubio, at the station. They arrived at the ISS on September 21, 2022 on the Soyuz MS-22. The ship's cooling system depressurized, so it was replaced by the Soyuz MS-23, on which Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio will return to Earth on September 27, 2023.
Also currently working on the ISS is the crew of the American spacecraft Crew Dragon (mission Crew-7), which includes Russian Konstantin Borisov, NASA astronaut Jasmine Moghbeli, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen and JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa.
Soyuz MS-24 has become the fifth spacecraft under the agreement between Roscosmos and NASA on cross-flights. It assumes that the crew of the Russian spacecraft will send one American astronaut to the ISS, and the American crew will include one Russian cosmonaut, so that in case of unforeseen situations, neither the Russian nor the American segments of the station will remain empty.
The first such ship was the Soyuz MS-22 with Frank Rubio in the crew. A couple of weeks later, Russian Anna Kikina went to the ISS on the American Crew Dragon. In March 2023, Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev arrived on the Crew Dragon (mission Crew-6) to the ISS, who has now been replaced by Borisov.
In the first half of 2024, American Tracy Dyson will fly on the Soyuz MS-25, and Russian Alexander Grebenkin will join the Crew Dragon crew. In the future, additional flights may be added to the agreement; previously, both Roscosmos and NASA did not rule out that the program could be extended.