ROSCOSMOS MISSION UPDATES
The Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft will bring New Year presents to the International Space Station (ISS), commander Dmitry Kondratyev said, quoted by news media.
The Soyuz TMA-20, carrying cosmonaut Kondratyev, the U.S. and Italian flight engineers, Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli, is scheduled to blast off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on December 15. The three astronauts will be on board the ISS for 152 days.
“We are taking New Year presents along, which our families have prepared for us,” Kondratyev told RIA Novosti. “We don’t know what’s in them, it will be a surprise.”
There will be no Christmas tree, however, Kondratyev said.
The three astronauts will join Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly and flight engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka, who have been aboard the station since early October.
Soyuz TMA-19, which took Expedition 25′s Douglas Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin back to Earth, landed in Kazakhstan earlier on Friday.
December is to be the most busy month for Russian space industry this year, Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov told news media. He was asked about the number of launches to take place next month, and explained that December is a busy month every year for the industry.
According to Perminov, several launches are to occur in December, including Soyuz TMA mission to the ISS, injection of three Glonass-Mâ€™s by Proton, and launch of the new-generation Glonass-K from Plesetsk.