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Sat, Dec 04, 2004

Russia OKs Next ISS Crew

Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and NASA Astronaut John Phillips will be ISS-11 crew

The new International Space Station crew that will take over from the ISS-10 crew in April has been picked. Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and NASA Astronaut John Phillips have been selected as the next replacement crew for the station. The announcement was made by Russian space agency spokesperson Vyacheslav Davidenko.

According to Davidenko, both the crew members have already visited the station as crew. They will be launched to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft to take over from Russian Salizhan Sharipov and American Leroy Chiao. The current crew has been manning the station since October 16.

Davidenko told the Associated Press that the Russian Space Agency will be signing a contract with the European Space Agency very soon to send an Italian astronaut to the station, Roberto Vittori. Assuming the contract is signed, Vittori will be the third crew member in the Soyuz spacecraft, and will spend 10 days on the station.

RKK Energia also announced on Tuesday that they will be sending a manned space shuttle to the station sometime between 2010 and 2012. The exact date of the launch will depend on funding of the mission. The US expects to resume Space Shuttle flights in May.

FMI: www.energia.ru/english/

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