Pedro Duque ? Cervantes Mission
Spanish ESA Astronaut Pedro Duque , Russian Cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and British born NASA astronaut Michael Foale are just weeks away from taking off, in a Soyuz spacecraft, on a twofold mission to the International Space Station.
The Cervantes Mission, which is sponsored by the Spanish Government, has two main goals. To carry out an extensive range of experiments aboard the ISS and to replace the TMA-2 spacecraft which is currently attached to the space station with the TMA-3 craft that the crew are travelling up in.
The Soyuz spacecraft attached to the Space station has to be changed against a new one, every six months. Only if it remains in such top condition can it be used as a lifeboat craft for the resident Space Station crew in the event of an emergency.
For example, the TMA-1 was used to bring back the ISS expedition 6 crew after the Columbia accident made their return by a Shuttle impossible.
Until the return to flight