Haven’t been posting for the usual reasons.
The Mars-500 crew reached Mars orbit in late January, landed on Mars on 12 February and reached the mission’s halfway point two days later. They performed 3 simulated EVAs (February 14, 18 and 22) and have now departed, to arrive at Earth in November. They still seem to be in mostly good psychological health!
The first ship of the new Soyuz variant, TMA-01M (700 series), launched to the ISS on 7 October with Expedition 25/26. Space Shuttle Discovery launched on 24/2 after a 4-month delay. The Japan Space Agency’s HTV-2 Konotori (H-Ⅱ Transfer Vehicle, launched 22/1) and ESA’s ATV Johannes Kepler (launched 16/2) are also docked, so all the vehicles of the international partners are up there at the moment! There was a plan to undock the Soyuz TMA-01M to do a flyaround and take photos (this has not been done since STS-71 Atlantis docked with Mir), but Roskosmos decided against it, disappointingly, as the TMA-01M is still classified as a test vehicle.
Six new cosmonaut candidates, approved by an interdepartmental commission on 26 April and 12 October, begun an 18-month training course at GCTC, Star City, starting 15 November and ending July 2012. The candidates, all male, are:
- Andrei Nikolaevich Babkin (RSC Energiya)
Андрей Николаевич Бабкин
- Aleksei Mikhailovich Khomenchuk (GCTC)
Алексей Михайлович Хоменчук
- Sergei Vladimirovich Kud’-Sverchkov (RSC Energiya)
Сергей Владимирович Кудь-Сверчков
- Denis Vladimirovich Matveev (GCTC)
Денис Владимирович Матвеев
- Svyatoslav Andreievich Morosov (RSC Energiya)
Святослав Андреевич Моросов
- Ivan Viktorovich Vagner (RSC Energiya)
Иван Викторович Вагнер
See my Cosmonaut Group page for links. Annoyingly, no official photos are taken until they are assigned a spaceflight, so portraits must be scrounged from the Internet.
While updating that page, I noticed that a new photo of Anton Shkaplerov at the Spacefacts site shows him as rather nice-looking! :-)
The Cosmonaut Group is now united:
Roscosmos Head Signs the Order to Establish United Cosmonaut Corps
Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov signed the Order “About Establishment of Roscosmos’ United Cosmonaut Corps” of Dec. 7, 2010.
The order defines completion of Roscosmos Cosmonaut Corps establishment in GCTC by Jan. 1, 2011.
The Corps is to unite cosmonauts of three groups - GCTC, RSC-Energia and IBMP – in a single infrastructure in order to “enhance cosmonaut selection and training effectiveness and to maintain coordinated national policy in human space missions”.