On July 6, 2017, backup crewmembers for Expedition 52 — from right, NASA's Mark Vande Hei, Roscosmos' Alexander Misurkin and JAXA's Norishige Kanai — meet, from left, Cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko, Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Deputy Director of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), Cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, and John McBrine, NASA Director of Operations at the GCTC, before the trio participate in the Soyuz qualification exams.
Welcome to Baikonur
Upon reaching the Soyuz launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan on July 16, the Expedition 52-53 backup crew, made up of Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (left), Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (left and center) and Mark Vande Hei of NASA (left and right), Russian space officials greet the trio. Expedition 52-53 prime crewmembers — Roscosmos' Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA's Randy Bresnik and ESA's Paolo Nespoli — are scheduled to complete a five-month mission on the International Space Station, launching on July 28 aboard the MS-05.
Expedition 52-53 backup crewmembers — from right, Mark Vande Hei of NASA, Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of JAXA — savor a traditional cup of tea in a replica of a Russian yurt inside Baikonur's space museum on July 18, 2017, in pre-launch ceremonies. Prime crewmembers for the mission — Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the ESA — launch for the International Space Station on July 28.
On Friday, July 7, 2017, astronauts Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of ESA, flight engineers for Expedition 52, complete their final Soyuz qualification exam inside the Soyuz simulator.
During a July 17 fit check dress rehearsal in the Baikonur Cosmodrome's integration Facility, backup crewmember Mark Vande Hei of NASA suits up in his Russian Sokol launch and entry suit. Expedition 52-53 launches for the ISS on July 28 in the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft for a five-month mission with prime crewmembers Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Randy Bresnik of NASA.
Face the Press
Prime crewmembers for Expedition 52, from left, flight engineers NASA's Randy Bresnik, Roscosmos' Sergey Ryazanskiy and ESA's Paolo Nespoli prepare for questions from the press in Star City, Russia, inside the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center next to the Soyuz simulator.
Outside the Soyuz simulator before their qualification exams begin, backup crewmembers Mark Vande Hei of NASA, left, Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, center, and Norishige Kanai of JAXA, pose for a photo on July 6, 2017, in Star City, Russia.
Sharing the Vision
Before qualification exams began on July 7, 2017, Expedition 52 flight engineers, from left — Paolo Nespoli of ESA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Randy Bresnik of NASA — participate in a press conference at the Gargarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
Patience is a Virtue
Outside the Soyuz simulator, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, an Expedition 52 flight engineer, pauses before engineering the craft to begin his final Soyuz qualification exams with fellow flight engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA and Randy Bresnik of NASA.
With outstretched arms, NASA's Randy Bresnik, one of three flight engineers for Expedition 52, illustrates the width inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Training Center in Star City, Russia.