- Parabolic Arc
- June 7, 2023
Russian Cosmonaut to Fly on SpaceX Crew Dragon
Anna Kikina will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a future SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, marking the first time a Russian cosmonaut will fly on the new American vehicle. In return, an American will fly aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin made the announcement in a Twitter post on Wednesday. It will be the first spaceflight for Kikina, who is Russia’s only active female cosmonaut.
Although Rogozin didn’t mention Crew Dragon by name, SpaceX’s vehicle is the only one currently flying. Boeing is experiencing significant delays in getting its CST-100 Starliner operational.
It is not clear when Kikina will fly on Crew Dragon. Neither Roscosmos nor NASA has made an official announcement of her assignment to a mission.
11 responses to “Russian Cosmonaut to Fly on SpaceX Crew Dragon”
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I suggest that Elon Musk names the Crew Dragon they use for the flight “Trampoline”.?
Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that. 🙂
They may yet.
the Russians probably picked the cosmonaut they liked the least to do this.
She just got her ticket upgraded from Economy Class to First Class though! 😀
and to a place that will respect her status
Told ya’ll this would pass. Retirement of Soyuz, and dependence on the US while they develop the next gen system will happen.
I always figured that seat swapping would depend on how many people, if any, lined up for tourist rides on Soyuz. Other than Maezawa san and his batman, I haven’t read about any such. So this could be just the Russkies looking to make as good a thing as they can out of a bad situation.
Soyuz, both the rocket and the spacecraft, seem unlikely to be imminent retirees. That would require either complete Russian capitulation as a manned space power or the actual development of replacement hardware. The schedule for the latter seems stuck in a perpetual lack of resources-based slide to the right. Russia will continue with Soyuz/Progress at some level indefinitely rather than put itself where the U.S. did after Shuttle retirement.
And, who knows, perhaps the pig will learn to sing? It’s at least faintly possible that new U.S. commercial space stations might entertain use of Soyuz/Progress as crew/cargo haulers if the prices are right. That’s about the only speck of hope I see where Russian manned spaceflight is concerned.
Dragon is how the Russians will free up seats on Soyuz that they can sell to passengers at a higher rate than NASA charges for a cosmonaut to fly up with them. So long as SpaceX does not undercut them in the fly direct plan that Inspiration 4 took.
Provided the situation in Eastern Europe is not about to collapse back to the 1920’s I fully expect the Russians to find themselves in the exact same position we put ourselves in when we retired STS. If they do go into Ukraine, the Western sanctions and insurgencies inside Novo-Russia will probably force Russia to give up on manned space.
Actually, seat swapping reduces the number of seats potentially salable to space tourists. NASA isn’t charging to carry cosmonauts on Dragon but also isn’t going to pay for the seats astronauts occupy on Soyuz. As noted, I think what broke Russian resistance to seat swaps was the realization that no long line of space tourists was forming, cash-in-hand, to ride Soyuz.
I very much agree about Russia’s manned spaceflight future – or lack thereof – should it persist in trying to grab any more of Ukraine than it already has. That initial land grab has already cost Russia hugely. Another such move will, I think, effectively isolate it from world commerce and materially accelerate its already rapid decline into terminal penury. But it is the nature of born-and-raised megalomaniacs to put their dreams of imperial “glory” above any other consideration.
If we are spared such a scenario, though, I think Russia will continue to fly Soyuz/Progress at some level for as long as it can as I see no likelihood of successor hardware ever reaching operational capability. Russia would only stop doing so if post-Ukraine-invasion sanctions and/or utter lack of resources forced such a move.
I agree with the first order effects within your outline. I’ll add one more thing. The West is offering a restricted stick that can have real effect on the Russians. But is there a carrot? Likely there is. What’s the reward for the Russians not invading Ukraine? Also note the lack of real preparations for a real war on both sides. I’m wondering if there’s something else the Russians might be poking for here. Something like a relaxing of sanctions that have accumulated over the past few years. You can also hear the Russians bring up points and the West is responding. Such as the lack of any European security body that the Russians are a member of, and of course their ‘red lines’.
The Donbass insurgency was a failure. It did not cause a cascade of rebellions in the territory of Novo-Russia like the Russians intended. The insurgents did not win, nor did they lose. Keeping the rebellion going is costing real money, and locals in Donbass now know beyond a doubt they’d be economically better off in Ukraine. I think the Russians are trying to find an end to the wound that is Donbass. If the Russians don’t invade for real, I expect to see diplomacy on relaxing of sanctions, summits over time concerning a European security body with Russia as a member, and Ukraine granting special independent status to Donbass or ceding it and Crimea to Russia. The locals in Crimea also feel like they’ve been ‘left behind’ by the slow but steady rise of the Ukrainian economy. I think this invasion scare is more about Russia trying to secure the bits of Ukraine it has now and to create a line that the Ukrainians won’t cross as they creep Westwards. I’m ready to be wrong on this, Russian preparations for an invasion are real, but no sign of an occupation to follow. Ukraine should be declaring a national emergency and acting on it. The predicted invasion is 6 weeks off, and Ukraine is not preparing any sector for invasion.