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  Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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A committee at Russia's space training center, Star City, announced
A committee at Russia's space training center, Star City, announced the line up for the crew of the 19th Expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), a RIA Novosti correspondent said on Thursday.

The ISS crew, comprising Russian Commander Gennady Padalka, U.S. Flight Engineer Michael Barratt, and American space tourist Charles Simonyi, one of the founders of Microsoft, will lift off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on board a Soyuz TMA-14 carrier rocket on March 26.

This will be Hungarian-born Simonyi's second trip to the ISS as a space tourist. The 60-year-old is due to spend 11 days in space before returning to Earth with two members of the current ISS crew.

During a press conference, Simonyi said his second trip to the ISS had cost him $35 million, a hike of 40% on his 2007 trip.

Padalka and Barratt will replace the current ISS crew comprising, U.S. Commander Michael Fincke and Russian astronaut Yury Lonchakov, who have been on the world's only orbital station since October.

Third crew member, U.S. astronaut Sandra Magnus, who has been on the station since November, will be replaced by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Wakata is part of U.S. shuttle Discovery's 7-person crew which is due to fly to the ISS on March 11.

NASA has delayed the Discovery launch date five times after concerns over the safety of on board fuel valves. On Wednesday NASA announced they would conduct a safety review on March 6 to set an official launch date.

Eight more flights to the station remain before the space shuttle is put into retirement in 2010 and all transport flights to the ISS switch over to Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft at least until 2013.

During the upcoming 14-day mission, Discovery will deliver the last set of solar wing panels to the ISS to increase power generation at the station, which will soon accommodate six astronauts instead of the current three.


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