On March 3, 2016, GCTC officially saw off the members of prime and back-up ISS-47/48 mission crews to Baikonur. The prime crew comprises Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams. Back-up crew members are Sergey Ryzhikov (Roscosmos), Andrei Borisenko (Roscosmos) and Robert Kimbrough (NASA). According to tradition after breakfast with GCTC specialists and authorities, ISS program representatives and family members the crews visited Lenin monument is Star City.
Answering journalists’ questions about working schedule, scientific experiments planned and preslifght preparations at Baikonur crew commander Alexei Ovchinin said: “We’ll keep the ISS in order, accomplish various maintenance works, and conduct experiments both in the framework of Russian and NASA scientific programs”.
The cosmonaut also pointed out that at Baikonur they will go on the trainings they have already had in GCTC. “We will practice manual docking with the station, manual controlled descent and continue medical trainings to prepare our bodies for spaceflight factors”.
“I feel very excited, – said A. Ovchinin. – For me it was quite a long way. We have a cool crew: Oleg (Skripochka) has already been to space, for Jeffrey (Williams) it will be the fourth flight. I am sure they’ll help me if any problem arises. We are ready for the flight and fill complete all the tasks set”.
After that the crews went to Chkalovsky airfield and left for Baikonur onboard two special charters.