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Belarusian Cosmonaut Embark Space Mission to the ISS

The 12-day space mission is expected to launch on March 2024

Vasilevskaya and Lenkova with their Soyuz commanders

July 25, 2023

Two Belarusian women, Marina Vasilevskaya and Anastasia Lenkova, have commenced their intensive training for the upcoming space flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024. The crew introduction took place yesterday at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center named after Yu.A. Gagarin, which operates under the Roscosmos State Corporation.

Marina Vasilevskaya and Anastasia Lenkova were introduced to the management and specialists of the institution, marking the commencement of their preparations for the 21st visiting crew to the ISS. The interdepartmental commission has finalized the composition of the main and backup crew, and the Belarusian candidates have been granted the opportunity to train on the cutting-edge CPC simulator complex.


Over the course of their training program, Marina and Anastasia will dive deep into the intricate systems of the ISS Russian Segment and the Soyuz MS manned spacecraft. Additionally, they will be exposed to the scientific program and undergo rigorous biomedical training to equip them for the challenges of space travel.


The training curriculum is extensive, encompassing emergency landing simulations on various terrains, including water surfaces and wooded, swampy areas during winter. These simulations aim to ensure the crew's preparedness for any unforeseen circumstances during their mission.


Expressing their excitement, the candidates conveyed their eagerness to spend nearly a year aboard the ISS. They anticipate the arrival of new faces from Earth, who will bring the latest news about their relatives and friends, further connecting them to their home planet during their time in space.


The main crew of the 21st ISS visiting expedition comprises Marina Vasilevskaya, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, and NASA astronaut Tracey Dyson. Supporting them as the backup crew are Anastasia Lenkova, Roscosmos cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit.


Marina Vasilevskaya

Name: Marina Vasilevskaya

Profession: Flight Attendant-Instructor, Belavia Airlines

Hobbies: Ballroom Dancing, Interior Design, Swimming, Aerobics, Badminton, Tennis, Gardening


Vasilevskaya is a flight attendant-instructor of Belavia Airlines, working as part of the crews of Boeing and Embraer aircraft. Marina was professionally engaged in ballroom dancing for 15 years before joining the airline. The lady is fond of interior design, going to the pool, doing aerobics, playing badminton and tennis in her spare time. Upon returning to the ground from the airspace, Marina goes straight down to her garden, where she grows vegetables and herbs with pleasure.


Anastasia Lenkova

Name: Anastasia Lenkova

Profession: Pediatric Surgeon, Radiologist

Affiliation: Russian National Center for Pediatric Surgery


Dr. Anastasia Lenkova is a pediatric surgeon at the Russian National Center for Pediatric Surgery. Anastasia graduated from the pediatric faculty of BSMU, then – an internship in the specialty “pediatric surgery”. Author of about two dozen scientific papers, participant and finalist of various international competitions and conferences in Europe. In 2021, she was awarded the medical qualification of a radiologist, this year ‑ the second qualification category of a pediatric surgeon.


The Soyuz MS-25 launch mission is scheduled for liftoff on March 13, 2024, and is expected to span 12 days, during which the crew will conduct scientific research and contribute to humanity's quest for knowledge beyond our planet's boundaries.


This international collaboration, with Belarusian and American astronauts partnering with Russian cosmonauts in the pursuit of scientific advancements and unlocking the mysteries of space.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft flying to the ISS in Q3 of 2023 has started taking exams. The prime crew of Expeditions 70 and 71 to the ISS began a series of final training sessions, one of the final stages of preparation for space flight. At the examination session at the Training Center,

Today, Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub had an examination training session, where they practiced manual control of rendezvous and docking of unmanned objects with the station. Such exercises are aimed at preparing cosmonauts for an emergency situation with the failure of the automatic docking mode when it is necessary to perform the operation manually from the ISS. The cosmonauts successfully completed the assigned tasks and were highly appreciated by the examination committee

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