Crew of the Soyuz MS-04 Arrives at Baikonur In Preparation for Expedition 51 to the ISS

Caption: Yurchikhin, Fischer (front), along with backup crew Ryazansky and Bresnik (back) at Baikonur. Photo courtesy of NASA Johnson.

Yesterday, NASA’s Jack Fischer and Roscosmos’ Fyodor Yurchikhin, the two crew members of Expedition 51 bound for the ISS, arrived at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, along with their backup crew, NASA’s Randolph Bresnik and Roscosmos’ Sergey Ryazansky.

They are expected to launch on 20 April 2017 on the Soyuz MS-04, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The crew has just arrived from Moscow, where they participated in the usual pre-launch rituals and routines such as visiting the Gagarin Museum in Moscow, where they added their names to the Registry of Space Travellers at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. They also visited the Red Square, where past Russian cosmonauts are interred.

Now at Baikonur, the crew have met their spacecraft for the first time and have christened it “Argo” after the Greek “argonauts”, which means “explorers”.

An excited Fischer tweeted, “Peek-a-boo! Here’s a couple pics of us in our sexy spaceship #Argo –she’s cozy and awesome! Can’t wait to take her out for a spin!”

On his Twitter page, Fischer also showed off his station flight suit and pictures of a delighted crew with Argo.

This will be Fischer’s first flight and Yurchikhin’s fifth flight into space. There, they will join Expedition 50 crew Peggy Whitson, who will be the first female to command the ISS twice, along with Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet.

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