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RSC Energia: Prelaunch press conference of Soyuz MS-04 crewsApril 19, 2016
On April 19, 2017, the main and the backup crews of the manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz MS-04 held a traditional press conference at the Baikonur launch site. Cosmonauts and astronauts answered questions from journalists and told about the plans for the upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Prior to the press conference the State Commission approved the crews of Soyuz MS-04. The main crew consists of a Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor YURCHIKHIN and NASA astronaut Jack FISHER. Their backup are a Roscosmos cosmonaur Sergei RYAZANSKY and a NASA astronaut Randolph BRESNIK.
The commander of Soyuz MS-04 Fyodor YURCHIKHIN explained to the journalists why the spacecraft was given its proper name Argo and pointed out that the international crew would work onboard the station in close cooperation and cordial mood. “The spacecraft was given its own classical Greek name Argo in honor of seafarers. The cosmonaut is a profession which involves voyaging. Those who voyaged on the ship Argo were sea-farers, while cosmonauts are space-farers", said Yurchkhin.
According to Yurchikhin, for whom the upcoming mission will be his fifth, his work is far from routine, and his spacecraft is both his house and a living thing, and he deeply respects it. “When we are seated inside, the arm is retracted, we feel small vibrations – the spacecraft comes to life. For me it is an animate being that has a right to have its own name. It is our house which protects us”, said Fyodor Yurchkhin. He also noted that the ISS is a shining example of people from different countries working together as a family and achieving amazing scientific results.
Responding to a question from journalists about internet access onboard the ISS, Fyodor Yurchkhin called it ‘a window on the big world’ which presented cosmonauts with new opportunities. At the same time, he compared the station to a coffee shop, which installed a wi-fi hotspot and made people communicate less with each other by focusing their attention on their gadgets.
Among the more interesting and useful experiments of the upcoming mission, the Roscosmos cosmonaut mentioned the experiments in making yogurt in the zero gravity environment onboard the station to study the feasibility of making food during deep-space exploration missions.
“We have many experiments with biotics, this is one of the most interesting areas. I’m certain that there’ll be an interesting scientific result and practical benefits for the cosmonauts, if we succeed in making a dairy onboard the station”, - commented on the experiment a member of the backup crew, Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky.
In his turn, the flight engineer of Soyuz MS-04 a NASA astronaut Jack FISCHER told about very good and cordial relations among the crew and called the Russian Fyodor Yurchikhin his friend and mentor. “All the cosmonauts and astronauts are friends. This friendship started with the first cosmonaut Yuri Alexeevich Gagarin. Everybody remembers his photo with a broad smile and a dove. That is my favorite photo. Gagarin opened the door to the sky not only for the USSR, but also for the entire world. He looked at us smiling his broad smile and invited us to follow in his steps”, - said Jack Fischer, for whom the upcoming space mission will be his first.
The cosmonaut and the astronaut pointed out that during their flight in Soyuz they were going to use electronic versions of onboard documentation on tablet computers, and after their arrival to the station they would make sure to share their experiences with people on Earth via the internet and social networks.
They added that they would take along pictures of their families and friends and small mementos. The zero gravity indicator onboard the spacecraft will be a symbolic sun with multicolored rays, a plush toy dog and two characters from Roscosmos TV studios cartoons – Yura and Nyura.
At the end of the press conference Fyodor Yurchikhin was given a membership card of the Union of Journalists of Russia.
Rolling-out of the launch vehicle with Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft and erecting it on the on the launch pad of Area 1 (“Gagarin’s launch pad”) of the Baikonur cosmodrome took place on April 17. The launch of the spacecraft is scheduled for April 20, 2017, at 10:13:43, Moscow Time. It is planned to perform the rendezvous and docking with the ISS using the quick six-hours flight profile.
During their stay onboard the ISS the crews of Expeditions ISS-51 and ISS-52 are going to perform scheduled maintenance to keep the space station in good working order, and to outfit the station with additional equipment. Also planned are activities with cargo transportation spacecraft of the Progress MS, Cygnus and Dragon series; preparations for the return to Earth of the two members of the crew of expedition ISS-50/51 onboard Soyuz MS-03, and providing support for the docking of Soyuz MS-05 carrying the crew of ISS-52/53 to the Mini Research Module Rassvet (MRM1).
In the course of expeditions ISS-51 and ISS-52 it is planned to conduct 531 runs under 62 experiments. 60 experiments were started during previous expeditions, 2 experiments (“Terminator”, IMPACT) are new. At the moment, the planned mission duration for this crew is 136 days.
RSC Energia press-center