US, Japanese astronauts approved as new ISS crew members

Moscow, July 8 (IANS) US and Japanese astronauts Kjell N. Lindgren and Kimiya Yui have been officially approved as new crew members to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on July 23, a spokesman for the Russian Cosmonaut Training Centre told TASS news agency on Wednesday.
“The prime and backup crews of the new ISS expedition have been approved,” the spokesman said.

Veteran Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, who has already made two spaceflights and conducted three spacewalks, will lead the crew.

The backup crew comprises Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko, NASA’s Timothy Kopra and the European Space Agency’s Timothy Peake.

A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz TMA-17M piloted spacecraft is expected to blast off on July 23 from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.

Both crews will arrive in Baikonur on July 10 to complete their pre-flight training.

Kononenko, Lindgren and Kimiya Yui had been preparing for a May 26 blastoff, but the flight was delayed after the failed launch of the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft in late April.

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