The next crews to visit the International Space Station, including ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, have been announced.
Thomas will fly on Expedition 50 with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko, Sergei Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitsky.
Peggy is one of NASA’s most experienced astronauts, having already completed two missions totalling 192 days in space and completing six spacewalks lasting more 39 hours.
Oleg has a military background and is an experienced pilot, diver and paratroop instructor.
Thomas commented on his assignment: “I'm thrilled to fly to space with such a talented crew. Oleg is the best pilot-cosmonaut Russia has to offer, and Peggy knows the International Space Station inside-out. I will have to keep up with the pace and learn as much as possible.”
Busy schedule for ESA astronauts
Thomas’ assignment continues a busy period of flights for ESA astronauts. Samantha Cristoforetti is now on the Station for her Futura mission, extensively sharing her experiences in her diary and pictures. Her return to Earth is planned for 12 May.
In June, Andreas Mogensen will be launched on his 10-day ‘iriss’ mission that will see him testing many new technologies to help improve working in space. In November, Tim Peake’s Principia mission will begin, landing in May 2016.
Thomas is now training in the US, where Andreas will join him next week, and Tim is in Russia.
Thomas concludes, “I have already set the countdown to launch: 644 days of hard work and fun.”
You can follow and connect with all of ESA’s current astronauts via http://astronauts.esa.int/