Russian, US and Italian astronauts will travel to space on Saturday, with their launch falling on the famed Apollo 11 landing anniversary. Roscosmos’ Alexander Skvortsov, Andrew Morgan of NASA and ESA’s Luca Parmitano will be traveling to ISS at around 1628 GMT. The launch will be from Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in Kazakhstan.
This launch falls on the date of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, which ended the space race between the USA and Soviet Union. Among the three people launching out now, only Skvortsov, who is 53 years old, was alive during the first Moon landing.
Already having flown twice, Skvortsov is the mission’s flight commander to ISS from Baikonur. This mission is Morgan’s first time in space. Parmitano has only gone once, being the first person from Italy to spacewalk, during his 166 days there.
Parmitano stated that this crew was privileged and lucky that their launch coincided with Apollo 11 landings. They would be wearing badges signifying this event. Morgan declined to answer when asked whether cosmonauts from Russia would reach lunar surfaces ever.
Morgan stated that NASA would accomplish even greater things since it was now cooperating with international agencies. 50 years after the launch, USA and Russia are still competitors in space. However, the ISS sees these two countries come together in cooperation. Soyuz program is responsible for all manned ISS flights.
However, Boeing and SpaceX are now trying to change this, winning billions of dollars’ worth of contracts signed with NASA. Trump is on a mission to bring human presence back to Moon before 2024. Named Artemis, this will be the 1st human presence on the Moon since Apollo landings in 1972.
Experts remain doubtful stating that deadlines weren’t realistic due to next-gen rocket development delays, budgetary constraints & lack of proper equipment. Parmitano, Skvortsov, and Morgan hail from the military and posed in their uniforms. The ISS has been in orbit since 1998, with a speed of 28000 km/hr.