Ready for Launch

Astronauts Yelena Serova, Aleksandr Samokutyayev and Barry Wilmore stand in front of the Soyuz rocket that will bring them to the International Space Station. Today the rocket was rolled out to the launch platform.

Launch is set for Thursday September 25 on 4:25 p.m. EDT (22:25 CEST). The launch will be broadcasted live at several channels, such as NASA TV and spaceflight101live .

NASA TV will start its broadcast at 3:30 pm EDT and docking coverage will start at 9:45 pm EDT.

Godspeed, for those flying to humanities frontier.

Image source: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

After spending nearly six months on the International Space Station, an astronaut and two cosmonauts have landed safely back on Earth. While in orbit, they traveled almost 71 million miles, NASA says.

Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) touched down in Kazakhstan Thursday morning, local time.

In this beautiful image the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is seen as it descends toward Earth.

Space Station Astronauts Make Safe Landing In Kazakhstan

Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA


Just as NASA has the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, Roscosmos has the Hydro Laboratory in Star city’s Yuri Cosmonaut Gagarin Training Center. The above pictures are from a training of Yelena Serova. The Russians train with their own Orlan suits, with added buoyancy blocks on the legs and helmet.

Source: RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok

The International Space Station Welcomes its First Female Cosmonaut

She’s the first woman cosmonaut on the ISS, and she doesn’t put up with silly questions about hair and makeup. Watch her shut down some foolish reporters, and get to know her a little better, at:

#276 Because of Yelena Serova.

Last week Russia sent a woman into space for the first time in 17 years as part of a U.S-Russian mission to the International Space Station. Being chosen as part of the crew for a space expedition is quite an accomplishment. It’s a job which asks for years of training, excellent skills and the trust and respect of your peers. One would imagine that the international press would have a hundred questions to ask Yelena  Serova about her work. But at the pre-launch press conference, Serova was questioned about:

- her hair.

- her makeup.

- her daughter.

Serova’s response:

“Can I ask a question, too: aren’t you interested in the hair styles of my colleagues?”

According to the BBC, this is not the first time Serova has faced such questions.

Welcome home, Expedition 42!

A few minutes after 10 pm EDT on March 11th 2015, Russia’s Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova as well as NASA’s Barry Wilmore landed back on Earth, in freezing and foggy Kazakhstan, after 167 days on the Space Station. While it was Elena’s first mission, Alexander and Barry have now spent 331 and 178 days in space respectively.

Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls
All-female Russian crew starts moon mission test, gets asked about make-up and men
Six Russian women have clambered into a mock spaceship to begin a unique experiment testing how an all-female crew would interact on a trip to the Moon and back.

“Reporter: “How will you deal with being without makeup for eight days?”

Russia sent the first woman into space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963 but has lagged behind since. Last year it sent its fourth female cosmonaut into space, Yelena Serova.

Serova complained of a flurry of media interest in how she would wash her hair aboard the International Space Station, pointing out that male cosmonauts did not face the same line of questioning.

Despite the mission being presented as a giant step for gender equality, the women found themselves fielding questions at a press conference about how they would cope without men or makeup for eight days.

“We are very beautiful without makeup,” parried participant Darya Komissarova.

Her colleague Anna Kussmaul was more direct: “Those who will take part in an experiment are not concerned there won’t be any men in their crew. We are here to do our job and we don’t have time to think about men.

"We are doing work. When you’re doing your work, you don’t think about men and women.”

The team added: “We consider the future of space belongs equally to men and women and unfortunately we need to catch up a bit after a period when unfortunately there haven’t been too many women in space.”

Read the full piece here

“How will you deal with being without makeup for eight days?”

Two eras united, Yelena Serova (left) and Valentina Tereshkova (right) meet before Yelena departs to Baikonur. Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space, Yelena will be the first Russian woman to visit and live on the International Space Station.

Image source: NASA/Stephanie Stoll via NASA2Explore

First Female Cosmonaut Arrives on Station as Part of Expedition 41/42

The ISS saw the arrival of three new crew members this week. Russian cosmonauts Elena Serova and Alexander Samojutyaev, along with NASA astronaut Bruce Wilmore joined NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev on station. 

Serova is only the fourth female cosmonaut to fly inspace and one of only 18 females to be selected as cosmonauts since 1961. These numbers are in stark contrast to the United States, who has had over 40 women selected as astronauts, and even had two female commanders of the space station – Peggy Whitson (2007-2008) and Sunny Williams (2012). 

Elena tried to make light of her historic mission, by saying she thought of this as just work, her job is space. However, she did recognize its significance and what it means for Russian women. 

Elena is an accomplished engineer and even worked in Russian Mission Control prior to being selected for the cosmonaut corps in 2006. She is a graduate of the esteemed Moscow Aviation Institute and was selected as part of the Expedition 41/42 crew back in 2011.

Serova is described as being the first female cosmonaut selected based on her skills and merits, and boy is she qualified. Hopefully, she will have a long history with the space program. 

Despite being highly qualified, Elena had to suffer through countless questions at pre-launch briefings about what her hair and make-up regime would be on station. She was quick to fire back at reporters, asking them why don’t ask her male comrades what they were going to do with their hair. 

Serova joins a small club of high-flying Russian women. This groups includes the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova (1963); the first woman to perform a space walk, Sveltlana Savitskaya (1992, 1994); and the first woman to fly a long-duration mission and the only female cosmonaut to fly on shuttle, Yelena Kondakova (1994-1995).

In November, Serova will be joined by another female astronaut, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoferetti. Samantha is Europe’s third female astronaut behind Helen Sharman in 1991, and Claudie Haignere in 2001.

Image & Source Credit: NASA/ESA/Roscosmos