This July Roscosmos State Corp and NASA signed an agreement on cross-flights, under which American astronauts will fly on Russian Soyuz spacecrafts, and Russian cosmonauts on American Crew Dragon spacecrafts.
Since May 2021, cosmonaut Anna Kikina has been training as a member of the ISS-67 backup crew, after which, together with cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, she became a member of the ISS-68 prime crew. Under the cross-flight agreement, Anna Kikina was assigned as the Crew-5 Mission Specialist to fly to the International Space Station on the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The launch is scheduled for October 3, 2022.
Today, August 26, an online press conference was held at the Cosmonaut Training Center dedicated to the launch of the cross-flights program of Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts to the ISS.
It was attended by Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, Hero of Russian Federation, pilot-cosmonaut of the Russian Federation, deputy head of the Cosmonaut Training Center – cosmonaut commander Oleg Kononenko, who is undergoing trainings as part of the ISS-68 backup crew, and Sergey Krikalev, Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of Russian Federation, pilot – USSR cosmonaut, Executive Director for Human Space flights of the Roscosmos State Corporation.
Participants answered questions received in advance from media representatives and social media users.
The journalists drew attention to the fact that the flights of Russian cosmonauts on foreign ships had not been carried out for about 20 years, so Sergey Krikalev was asked about the implementation of the cross-flights program. “This project was created to increase resistance to possible emergency situations,” Sergey replied. “The agreement has now been signed for the first three flights, but if the result is positive, we will continue the program.”
Anna Kikina, when asked about the relationship with the American crew, of which she will become a part in the upcoming flight, answered that they are comfortable, high-quality and efficient. “I am satisfied with the learning process both in the USA and in Russia. I see huge interest among all specialists so that human cosmonautics should live on, and we continue to fly, ”Anna noted.
Oleg Kononenko, in response to a question about the level of Anna’s training, noted her complete readiness to work on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and also spoke about the qualities of a modern cosmonaut. “A modern cosmonaut should want and know how to learn, be very sociable and work in a different social group and environment. If a person is determined to constantly improve his knowledge, he has a direct road to become a cosmonaut, ” concluded Oleg.
Anna Kikina will be the first woman in the last eight years to work on the International Space Station as part of the Russian part of the ISS-68 crew. At a press conference, Anna addressed the girls who wanted to join the cosmonaut corps: “Cosmonaut is a very interesting profession. It is important to meet high professional requirements, but everything is real. If you feel the strength in yourself, then the roads are open, ” said Anna.
The conference was held online together with TASS, Roscosmos State Corporation and the Cosmonaut Training Center.