Preparations Continue for Soyuz Crew Flight to ISS

The crew of Soyuz MS-16: Russian cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin and with NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, March 25, 2020 (Roscosmos PR) — The final pre-flight training session of the prime and backup crews of Soyuz MS-16 transport manned spacecraft under the program of the ISS 62/63 Expeditions to the International Space Station (ISS) began at the Baikonur Launch Site.

The prime crew of Soyuz MS-16 consists of commander Anatoly Ivanishin (Roscosmos), flight-engineer 1 Ivan Vagner (Roscosmos) and flight engineer 2 Christopher Cassidy (NASA). Their backups are Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, Andrey Babkin and NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen.

The launch of the Soyuz-2.1а launch vehicle carrying Soyuz MS-16 to the ISS is scheduled for April 9, 2020 from the Baikonur Launch Site.

According to the training schedule, the cosmonauts and astronauts fitted on flight spacesuits, performed their leak tests and took their places in the spacecraft. The crews checked the service equipment, familiarized with the onboard documentation, studied the flight program and the list of cargo to be delivered to the ISS.

Further training sessions of the expedition participants at the launch site include training of the manual approach of the spacecraft to the ISS, checking of the science hardware kits, testing of ballistic operations and other training procedures.

On March 23, 2020 the ISS-63 mission crew members visited Yuri Gagarin’s working office at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where every crew member left an address in the crew pre-flight book.

The day’s program finished with laying flowers in front of the monument to the world’s first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Soyuz Processing

On March 25, a meeting of the Technical Management was held at the Baikonur launch site, where a decision was taken to admit Soyuz MS-16 manned transport spacecraft to fueling.

Specialists from RSC Energia and core enterprises of Roscosmos are proceeding to planned operations for fueling the spacecraft with propellant components and compressed gases. Upon completion of the activities at the filling station, Soyuz MS-16 will be brought back to the Integration and Test Facility at Site 254.