Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle
Two many years in the past, Nick Hague was a wide-eyed, 20-something and Air Force second lieutenant from Kansas. Russian Alexey Ovchinin, was one other 20-something who had harbored cosmonaut goals since he was a 7-year-old boy.
Now, NASA astronaut Hague, 42, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Ovchinin, 46, are heading to the International Space Station collectively this October and will probably be aboard to observe the station’s 20th anniversary. While the boys haven’t any celebration deliberate simply but, the importance of the station and the way a lot they’ve achieved are usually not misplaced on them.
“It serves as a symbol,” Hague stated at a press convention on Monday. “The space station is an example of what we can do. We can do something that’s really hard, really complex, and we can be successful at it. I think it also serves as a reminder to us that we can only do those really hard things if we work together.”
Hague and Ovchinin will probably be launched on Oct. 11 in a cramped Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station as a part of Expedition 57. The two males will probably be becoming a member of, residing, and dealing with the remainder of Expedition 57’s crew already onboard the station. As a part of their mission, they hope to conduct over 300 totally different scientific experiments that can not be carried out on earth. They are set to return subsequent April.
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The announcement of the newest mission to the area station comes as President Donald Trump’s proposed federal price range, which have to be accepted by Congress, eliminates federal funding for the station by the top of 2024, transitioning operations to business entities.
Hague stated he has “confidence in commercial partners” for the operation of the area station. “We depend on them today. They provide cargo to the space station.”
A colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Hague is the primary from his astronaut class of 2013 to be assigned to a mission. His formal position is flight engineer, and he’ll sit in the left seat of the Soyuz.
“I do what the commander tells me,” he stated of his position in the course of the press convention at Johnson Space Center. “Essentially, I’m a co-pilot. Based on the way that you fit into a Soyuz, there are certain buttons that are out of the reach of the commander. And so a lot of the systems monitoring that I do, I interact with those switches, those buttons.”
“I would venture to say that if the flight engineer is a good one, the mission is going to be 100% successful,” stated Ovchinin.
Ovchinin will probably be commanding the spacecraft, and Expedition 57 is ready to be his second spaceflight.
“Alexey spends most of his time looking at the overall health of the spacecraft, and how we’re guiding it through space with navigation and guidance,” Hague stated. “The two of us, we’re constantly backing each other up.”
Hague earned his place in the mission by way of coaching that took time away from his family members.
“One of the things I think that makes it difficult to prepare for a mission like this is that it takes two years of training in advance of the mission, and most of that time you’re away from home,” he stated. “So it can be a strain, being away from your family, being away from your children.”
He seems ahead to the vantage level that his first time in area will provide him, and considers it his accountability to share as a lot as he can with everybody again on earth.
“The first time is going to be unique in that everything is going to be a first,” he stated. “Going up there and floating in space for six months is going to be something completely foreign to me… I want to try to capture as much of that and share that with my wife, with my kids, with everybody that’s following what we do up there.”
With one mission already beneath his belt, Ovchinin confirmed that the time dedicated to coaching, although lengthy, is properly well worth the expertise of spaceflight.
“Even though I spent nine years preparing for my first mission… I don’t regret it one bit,” he stated by way of an interpreter. “I’m looking forward to doing all of [the experiments], and to my new mission.”
Teamwork is essential to the success of the mission. Astronauts and cosmonauts engaged on the ISS are required to have working information of each English and Russian, and this problem has introduced Hague and Ovchinin collectively.
“We try to meet each other halfway,” Hague stated. “A lot of our conversations, I’m trying to speak Russian to Alexey, and Alexey is trying to speak English to me, and we find an understanding together. That’s the beauty of the program—the international cooperation.”