Soyuz spacecraft ready for launch, 1st Brit on board since 1991 (VIDEO)
On Sunday morning, all stages of the rocket carrier were assembled at Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan. The rocket is scheduled for lift-off next Thursday at 14.03 Moscow time, from the pad used in 1961 to launch Vostok with Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Russia’s Malenchenko is one of the most experienced cosmonauts – he has spent some 641 days in space during his five flights and even got married during one of his missions. NASA’s Timothy L. Kopra spent a little less than 60 days as a flight engineer of Expedition 20 on the ISS in 2009.
Major Tim Peake is the first British astronaut from the European Space Agency (ESA) and will be making his maiden flight into space on board the Soyuz TMA-19M. He will become the second British astronaut after Helen Sharman’s flight in 1991.
This time the crew can enjoy watching the long-awaited and much-anticipated new episode of the Star Wars saga.
Yuri Malenchenko’s wife, Ekaterina, told RT that her husband likes Star Wars. “Can’t say that he is a really big fan, but he enjoys it,” she said.
It’s Peak’s first space mission and he has brought along collection of music, John King, one of his relatives, told RT. One of the challenges the astronaut faced while preparing for the mission was learning Russian, he added.
The first Brit in space since 1991 didn’t go unnoticed in the Twittersphere. Users all over the world wished him good luck.
The three-man crew will join Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who are already on board the International Space Station. Their expedition will last 143 days.