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NASA, Russia’s Space Agency to Conduct Integrated Manned ISS Flights Under Agreement

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NASA and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos have agreed to perform integrated crewed flights to the International Space Station, Reuters reported Friday.

“Flying integrated crews ensures there are appropriately trained crew members on board the station for essential maintenance and spacewalks,” NASA said in a statement Friday.

Under the agreement, the first integrated manned flight to the ISS will occur in September and NASA said U.S. astronaut Frank Rubio will join two cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, who will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, along with two U.S. astronauts and a Japanese astronaut, will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.

NASA and Roscosmos had previously performed integrated flights to the orbiting laboratory using the Space Shuttle and Soyuz. Upon retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the U.S. relied on Russian spacecraft to send astronauts to the ISS. NASA started routine flights from Florida following the launch of Crew Dragon in 2020.