NASA, Roscosmos Complete Seat Swap on Flights to ISS

The space station is viewed from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon during its automated approach before docking. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — To ensure continued safe operations of the International Space Station (station), protect the lives of astronauts, and ensure continuous U.S. presence in space, NASA will resume integrated crews on U.S. crew spacecraft and the Russian Soyuz with the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos.

Flying integrated crews ensures there are appropriately trained crew members on board the station for essential maintenance and spacewalks. It also protects against contingencies such as a problem with any crew spacecraft, serious crew medical issues, or an emergency aboard the station that requires a crew and the vehicle they are assigned to return to Earth sooner than planned.

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Roscosmos Approves Space Station Crews for 2022-2024

The space station is viewed from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon during its automated approach before docking. (Credit: NASA TV)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The interdepartmental commission on the selection of cosmonauts has confirmed the prime and backup crews of long-term expeditions to the International Space Station of Soyuz MS crewed spaceships in 2022-2024.

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Russian Cosmonaut to Fly on SpaceX Crew Dragon

Anna Kikina (Credit: Roscosmos)

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.