NASA, Partners Name New ISS Crew Members
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The US space agency said that NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, along with Japanese Exploration Aerospace Agency (JAXA) astronaut Kimiya Yui and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, will be launching in June 2015 to join three Expedition 44 crew members in orbit.
Lindgren, a board-certified emergency and aerospace medicine physician, and his international team will be remaining onboard the orbiting laboratory as part of the Expedition 45 crew. This crew will be adding: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, station commander; Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, flight engineer; and Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov, flight engineer.
NASA said Lindgren joined the astronaut corps in 2009 and worked as a NASA flight surgeon before his selection. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in cardiovascular physiology and a doctorate in medicine. During his time at the US Air Force Academy he was a member of the “Wings of Blue” parachute team.
JAXA’s Yui was born in Nagano, Japan and received degrees from the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, National Defense Academy of Japan, in March 1992. He served in the Japan Air Self Defense Force until his selection as an astronaut candidate by JAXA in 2009. Yui has spent two years in astronaut candidate training at NASA, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction on the space station’s systems, spacewalking, robotics, physiological training, flight training and wilderness survival training.
Kononenko joined the cosmonaut corps in 1996 and completed his initial training in 1998. His first spaceflight was as a flight engineer for Expedition 17 in 2008. He launched to the ISS for his second mission in December 2011 and returned to Earth in 2012, spending a total of 193 days in space.
Currently, NASA is transporting its astronauts to the space station via Russia’s Soyuz capsule. NASA recently extended its contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation. The $424 million addition to the contract extends services for Russian transportation through June 2017. However, the US space agency still has plans to be launching astronauts from American soil once again. NASA said it hopes its US commercial crew space transportation will be providing cost-effective access to and from space beginning in 2017.
“This modification to the Roscosmos contract will ensure continued US presence aboard the space station as NASA prepares for commercial crew providers to begin those transportation operations,” NASA said in a statement. “NASA is committed to launching US astronauts aboard domestic spacecraft as soon as possible. Full funding of the administration’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request is critical to making these domestic capabilities possible by 2017.”