The beginning of the final stage of preparation for a flight into space is prelaunch training of crews at the Baikonur cosmodrome. Today is the first day of training sessions for cosmonauts and space flight participants of the 20th visiting crew to the ISS.
Credit: Roscosmos

Russia’s launch of the Soyuz MS-20 crewed spacecraft is slated for December 8, 2021. For the first time, two space flight participants will fly on the same spacecraft at once, becoming the eighth and ninth tourists to visit the International Space Station.

The crew: Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and space flight participants from Japan: billionaire entrepreneur and art collector Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano, a production assistant of Maezawa assigned to document the flight.

Maezawa recently announced, under his dearMoon project, he will choose eight members of the public to join him on a trip around the Moon, scheduled to fly on SpaceX’s Starship in 2023.

Crew training

Over the next 2.5 weeks, the Japanese spaceflight participants will carry out a program of training, exercises and briefings, as well as medical examinations. On November 20, they will conduct the first “fitting” in the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft, familiarizing themselves with onboard systems.

Credit: Space Center “Yuzhny”/Roscosmos

Crew training at Baikonur involves getting to know the ship, classes and trainings, “as well as symbolic events that distract the cosmonauts from the prelaunch excitement,” according to Russia’s Roscosmos.

The back-up crew consists of Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and Japanese participant Shun Ogiso.

The 12-day mission of Maezawa and Hirano is under a contract with Space Adventures.

Space Adventures organized the flights for the world’s first private astronauts (Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi, Richard Garriott and Guy Laliberté).

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