Yesterday, on December 8, it was reported that the Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft with the crew of the 20th expedition to the ISS at 4.40 pm Moscow time docked to the Small Research Module “Poisk” of the Russian segment. First time in 12 years space tourists arrived at the station.
The meeting was carried out according to a four-turn scheme under the supervision of specialists of the Main Operational Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS. The crew immediately started preparations to perform operations to open the transition hatches: they monitored the tightness of the ship’s compartments, switched to combined power, equalized the pressure between the ship and the station, and removed and dried the Sokol KV-2 flight suits.
As reminded, since 2001, Roscosmos state space corporation and the Space Adventures American company, which provides marketing services, have been organizing tourist flights into space. So far, only seven people have been able to take advantage of this opportunity and become space tourists. This happened in 2001-2009 on Russian Soyuz family ships under contracts with Space Adventures.
To date, the crew members of the Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft have already opened the transition hatches between the ship and the Poisk module. Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano boarded the ISS.
After the hatches were opened, a crew of 10 people began work on the ISS, consisting of Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Pyotr Dubrov, and Alexander Misurkin, as well as NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raj Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron, ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and Japanese tourists Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano.
The flight of the 20th visiting expedition takes place against the background of the flight of the main ISS-66 expedition. The planned duration of the tourist flight is 12 days. About 162 kg of payloads were also delivered to the ISS, including materials for biomedical research, consumables, hygiene products, food rations and 13 kg of fresh fruit. Russian cosmonauts also received congratulatory correspondence from relatives and friends, personal gifts, and homemade treats for the New Year.