ISS crews prepare for flow of visitors

Washington, March 15 ( /Sputnik) Crews on the International Space Station (ISS) will cope with almost unprecedented human congestion as 18 astronauts and cosmonauts arrive, work and depart from it over the next month, NASA ISS Operations Integration Manager Dina Contella said. “[The] Soyuz launch on schedule on Friday [is] bringing three Russian crew members to the ISS and then returning [on March 30] with three ISS crew mates to land in Kazakhstan,” Cointella told a press conference on Monday. “[In] an incredibly busy spring, 18 people will be living on ISS in the space of a few weeks.” As part of the flow, four private astronauts are then going up to the ISS on an Axiom private scientific mission in early April for eight days and the replacement permanent crew for the station will overlap for some days with the returning one, Contella said. A maximum of ten people would be on board the ISS at any one time and there was plenty of room for sleeping quarters and general accommodation for them, Contella added. The Axiom flight will be the company’s first private sector manned mission to the ISS and it will carry 26 new scientific experiments, NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Kathy Leuders said earlier this month. /SPUTNIK ACL0813

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