The first crew for the new Russian manned spacecraft - the Federatsiya - may be selected in 2018, Head of the Flight Service of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation Alexander Kaleri said on Tuesday.
"The first crew for the Federatsiya spaceship may be chosen next year. It would be appropriate to combine the experimental development phase for the unit [the Federatsiya spacecraft - TASS) with the initial stage of the crew’s training. For this purpose, the first flight squads for the crew transfer vehicle should be assigned no later than the middle of next year. Preparation and some technical aspects will differ from preparation on board the Soyuz, and the means for training cosmonauts will lag behind, but the means for the experimental development of the spacecraft will be created and actively used, and it will require a team of test engineers," he said.
Earlier Deputy Head of Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center Yury Malenchenko told TASS that it would take at least one year to train the first crew for testing the Federatsiya new-generation spacecraft. He noted then that it takes a crew about 18 months to two years to get prepared for a mission to the International Space Station. It includes studying the spacecraft, working with it and with the station and preparing for the mission flight program.
Malenchenko noted than the group or several groups that will train to pilot the Federatsiya will be formed as soon as the mission is assigned to the astronaut-training center.
The Federatsiya spacecraft, designed by the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, will be used to take people and cargo into the Earth’s orbit and to the Moon. There will be up to four people in one crew. The spacecraft will be capable of staying up to 30 days in an autonomous flight mode and up to one year at the orbital station.
There are plans to use the Soyuz 5 launch vehicle to deliver the Federatsiya to orbit. The spacecraft is to make its first unmanned flight in 2022 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The orbital manned flight is set for 2023, and the first manned ISS mission, for 2024.