A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after less than six hours reached the International Space Station carrying three new crew members. The Soyuz has used the fast path now normally used. There was a problem with the spacecraft’s solar panels, that didn’t deploy correctly when it reached orbit, but it was solved after docking with the Station so there will be no repercussions.
The three new crew members of the International Space Station, who complete the Expedition 41 crew, are:
Aleksandr Mikhailovich Samokutyayev. Born on March 13, 1970 in Penza, in the then USSR, now Russia, he graduated from the Gagarin Air Force Academy and since 2000 served at the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center. After being assigned to the backup crew of Expedition 25 in 2008 and as backup commander of the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft in 2010, he completed his first mission to the International Space Station in 2011, initially as part of Expedition 27 and then Expedition 28. During that mission, he performed a spacewalk. He’s married and has one daughter.
Yelena Olegovna Serova. Born on April 22, 1976 in Primorsky Krai, in the then USSR, now Russia, she earned a degree in engineering at the Aerospace Faculty of the Moscow Aviation Institute in 2001 and in economy at the Moscow State Academy of Instrument Engineering in 2003. After working as an engineer at RSC Energia and the Mission Control Center in Moscow, in 2006 she was selected as a cosmonaut. This is her first space mission and she’s the first woman cosmonaut on the International Space Station. She’s married to cosmonaut Mark Serov and they have a daughter.
Barry Eugene “Butch” Wilmore. Born on December 29, 1962 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA, he earned e bachelor and a master in electrical engineering at Tennessee Technological University and a master in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee. He joined the U.S. Navy and graduated from the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS). As a pilot, he accumulated more than 6,200 flight hours in various aircraft. In 2000 he was selected by NASA as a pilot. He worked on various propulsion systems, including those of the Space Shuttle, and various support teams for other astronauts. He was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in the STS-129 mission in 2009, which also docked with the International Space Station. He’s married and has two daughters.
According to schedule, the new crew members will return to Earth in March 2015. On the International Space Station, they’ll carry out routine maintenance, a series of scientific experiments and manage the arrival and departure of various spacecraft.