WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA and its international partners have updated the assignments for several crew rotations to the International Space Station in 2017. The changes reflect a switch in assignments for some NASA astronauts, as well as a reduction in the number of Russian cosmonauts on some missions.
Expedition 51/52 crew members NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will launch in March 2017. Yurchikhin will be the Expedition 52 commander.
In May 2017, Expedition 52/53 will launch with NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Russian Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy. Bresnik will be the Expedition 53 commander.
Expedition 53/54 will launch in September 2017. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will make up that crew, with Misurkin commanding Expedition 54.
Expedition 54/55 will launch with NASA astronaut Scott Tingle, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Norishige Kanai and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov in October 2017. Expedition 55 will be commanded by Skvortsov.
The Expedition 50/51 launch of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, astronaut Thomas Pesquet of ESA and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy is unchanged and on track to launch Nov. 17 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. They will join Expedition 50 crew members currently on the station, including astronaut Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos. Kimbrough is the commander of Expedition 50 and Whitson will assume command for Expedition 51.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. It has been continuously occupied since November 2000 and, since then, has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next giant leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.