May 26, 2009. Baikonur launch site,
branch office of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia

The State Commission held its meeting at Baikonur launch site where the primary and backup crews for Soyuz TMA-15 were approved and the readiness of the space launcher system was confirmed.

As reported by the Roscosmos press service, the Head of Roscosmos A.N. Perminov opened the State Commission meeting with the following words: "Having heard and discussed the reports on the status of the International Space Station, on the progress of the manned spacecraft and the launch vehicle processing, and on the readiness of all the ground support services, the Council of Chief Designers, the technical management, the Federal Space Agency board and the State Commission made a decision to launch on May 27, 2009, manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-15 with the international crew of Expedition 20 to ISS".

"This launch - said the Head of Roscosmos A.N. Perminov - opens the stage in the operation of the space station where it will be manned by a international crew of six, which will include representatives of the Russian, US, European, Japanese and Canadian space agencies".

"The Expedition crew - noted A.N. Perminov - have before them an important mission to ISS which will be 180 days long. During this period they will have to perform a large amount of work servicing on-board systems of the space station, outfitting it, performing extravehicular activities, as well as implementing a fairly broad program of scientific experiments and studies in various fields."

"Yesterday, in accordance with the schedule of the final stage in the pre-launch processing, the integrated launch vehicle was rolled out to the launch pad. During the first day on the launch pad all the pre-launch processing work on the integrated launch vehicle has been completed with high quality and reliability. We also have firm hope that the crew's knowledge and excellent training will enable them to carry out the entire mission plan", - said the Head of Roscosmos A.N. Perminov.

At the suggestion of the Head of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center V.V. Tsibliev, the State Commission approved the proposed composition of the primary and backup crews.

The Prime Crew: ISS-20 Flight Engineer, Soyuz TMA TSC Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel, Russian Federation Air Forces, Test Cosmonaut of Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Roman Yurievich Romanenko; ISS Flight Engineer, Soyuz TMA TSC Flight Engineer, ESA Astronaut, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Belgian Air Force Frank De Winne; ISS Flight Engineer, Soyuz TSC Flight Engineer, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Robert Thirsk

The Backup Crew: ISS-20 Flight Engineer, Soyuz-TMA Commander, Colonel of RF Air Force, Military Pilot, 1st Class, Test Cosmonaut, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Dmitriy Yurievich Kondratiev; ISS Flight Engineer, Soyuz TSC Flight Engineer, ESA Astronaut, The Netherlands Andre Kuipers; ISS Flight Engineer, Soyuz TSC Flight Engineer, Colonel, CAF, Ret, Astronaut, Canadian Space Agency Christopher Hadfield.

The President and General Designer of the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and the Technical Manager for flight tests of manned space systems V.A. Lopota, having noted the complexity of the challenges before the crew, wished them luck and successful work.

Also spoke at the meeting of the State Commission: the Head of the Roscosmos manned programs directorate A.B. Krasnov, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal biomedical agency V.A. Rogozhnikov, Head of the administration of the town of Baikonur A.F. Mezentsev, ISS Program Director (NASA) Michael Saffredini, ISS Program Director (ESA) Patti Bernardo, and the president of the Canadian Space Agency Steve MacLean.

The members of the primary and backup crews reported their readiness for the mission.

The launch of the integrated space vehicle Soyuz-FG/Soyuz TMA-15 is scheduled for May 27, 2009 at 14 hours 34 minutes Moscow Time.




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