Russia selects first candidate to likely fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon

During the Shuttle era, NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos worked out a deal to trade seats between the Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz capsule. When the Shuttle retired this deal went away and NASA had to now pay for each seat it was going to take up until NASA could get its Commerical Crew Program up and running.

Many thought that once NASA’s two commercial space capsules were ready to fly that the seat swapping deal would continue but teams over in Russia, while impressed, did not see Crew Dragon ready to fly its Cosmonauts after the DM-2 mission.

Now, after the flight of Crew 1, in which its stay will end this coming May, Roscosmos and NASA might have finally come back to an agreement to swap seats on rides to the ISS. Last week Roscosmos altered its crew selection for the upcoming MS-18 flight and replaced Sergei Korsakov with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei for the prime seat selection and with Anne McClain in for Dmitriy Petelin in the backup slot.

Earlier in this week according to TASS, a Russian news agency, Pavel Vlasov, Head of Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, announced that Sergei will be a candidate for a flight on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.

“Sergey is one of the first candidates to fly on Crew Dragon, he has passed all the necessary events necessary for preparing space equipment,”

Pavel Vlasov, Head of Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

Not much other information is public as to who else will be a candidate for this flight or Petelin will also be eligible to be a candidate. There is still an open Mission Specialist slot open on SpaceX’s Crew 3 mission which is planned to fly no earlier than September of this year.

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