On May 14, 2021, Interdepartmental Commission approved prime and back-up crews of ISS mission for 2021 – 2023.
The next launch is planned for October 2021. It will be the 66th long-duration space mission.
Anton Shkaplerov was appointed Soyuz prime crew and ISS-66 mission crew commander. He will deliver to the ISS actress Yulia Peresild and movie director Klim Shipenko who will make filming aboard the space station for a movie called “Challenge”. ISS-66 back-up crew comprises Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, movie director Alexey Dudin and actress Alyona Mordovina.
The filming team is going to start the training next week while the cosmonauts have already started their preflight trainings in GCTC.
For instance Anton Shkaplerov has already practiced 4-orbit launching scheme on Soyuz spacecraft complex simulator. During the training depressurization of the capsule was simulated and the cosmonaut and his partner had to accomplish urgent descent operation.
During this training Roscosmos cosmonaut Dmitry Petyelin played the part of a space flight participants.
Space Flight participant #1 sits to the left of the crew commander. His task is to control several valves I cannot physically reach since I am wearing a spacesuit and during the launch my belts will be fastened. That’s why even non-professional flight participants should be trained enough and psychologically prepared for such scenario. But since he/she is not a professional cosmonaut all actions are to be done on my command only, – Shkaplerov explained.
During the launch of Soyuz MS-19 with “Challenge” filming crew aboard Anton Shkaplerov will the parts of both crew commander and flight engineer.
“Generally flight engineer supervises operation of the systems while crew commander controls the spacecraft. It will be a new exciting experience”, – cosmonaut noted. He is going to go to space for the fourth time.
Shkaplerov’s back-up Oleg Artemyev is also busy with the trainings. He is taking part in GCTC hydrolab testing. Together with the German astronaut Matthias Maurer he practiced EVA operations. One of the tasks to be accomplished in the open space when Nauka laboratory module is launched is to provide for European Robotic Arm manipulator efficiency installed onto the surface of the new module.
It is not clear so far who is going to be aboard the ISS to perform these operations. According to Artemyev ESA astronaut’s participation in the EVA is necessary for accomplishment of this task.