Space shortlist announced

The Russian space center has announced the names of the new International Space Station crew. Two Russian cosmonauts and a female American astronaut will head to the ISS in April.

The team – Aleksandr Skvortsov, Mikhail Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson – held a press conference in Star City on Friday to discuss their preparations for their time in space.

The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft is to launch on April 2 and to link up with the ISS on April 4. The astronauts hope to conduct around 50 experiments during their mission.

The mission is to last for six months and the occupants expect three American space shuttles and three cargo spacecraft to dock with the station. The crew is also expected to perform two spacewalks – the first from the Russian segment and the second from American segment of the station.

The two Russian astronauts have never been into space before, while Tracy Caldwell Dyson has traveled into orbit on one previous occasion.