Alexander Grebenkin, a former Russian military officer and current Roscosmos cosmonaut, was part of the crew of four aboard SpaceX's Falcon rocket that launched on Sunday heading for the International Space Station (ISS), AP reported.

The rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after three days of delay due to high winds. A further delay was almost caused by the discovery on Sunday night of a small crack in the seal of the SpaceX capsule's hatch.

After a thorough inspection and review, it was deemed safe for the mission to proceed.

Grebenkin, along with NASA's Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, are expected to reach the orbiting lab on Tuesday, replacing the crew from the US, Denmark, Japan, and Russia who have been aboard the ISS since August.

Their six-month stay includes the awaited arrival of two NASA-ordered rocket ships.

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During the mission, flight controllers closely monitored a cabin leak on the Russian side of the space station. NASA program manager Joel Montalbano said that the leak has doubled in size over the past few weeks, but the affected area has been sealed off and will have no impact on station operations or crew safety.

According to information from open sources, Alexander Grebenkin had no space flight experience before joining the cosmonaut program. He served in technical and operational units of the Russian Air Force as a commissioned military officer.

From 2014 until entering service as a cosmonaut candidate in 2018, he served in the military in the village of Novy Gorodok, in the Moscow Region.

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During that period, the Russian armed invasion of Crimea and the creation of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” took place causing the war in Donbas to begin that continued until Russia’s 2022 full-scale invasion.

Grebenkin has the military rank of major and received medals “For distinction in military service” I, II, and III degrees.

In November 2018, he was enrolled at the Gagarin Scientific Research Test Center for Cosmonaut Training, the primary Russian institution for cosmonaut training achieving his test cosmonaut qualification in December 2020.

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On Mar. 1, 2023, at a meeting of the Roscosmos Interdepartmental Commission, Grebenkin was allocated a place in US manned ship Crew Dragon (Crew-8 mission).

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Comments (2)

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Jack Griffin
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Troll John, it would be great if you could travel to the ISS and stay there.

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John
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In one sense I see this in the same genre as the olympics and feel it is unfair to let a russia representative bring possible favourable media attention to that despot regime. 



Seems like this guy has a mostly "fix aeronautical stuff' kind of engineering background....Problems on the ISS? It needs to regularly fire boosters or its orbit decays. An experimental Cygnus freighter's engine / booster tested and failed on the ISS about 6-8 months before this cosmonaut was selected for the current crew 8 team. Then again that was a US designed booster so why send a russian fix it guy? Who knows...purely conjecture on my behalf.



Note these SpaceX Dragon "Endeavour" missions return to earth somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

The USA has a track record of gathering desired skills from dying enemy regimes. About 75% of defections from past Olympics had been from citizens under oppressive russian rule......each defection shows russia for what it is for those who aspire to better themselves....a place to escape from.

We just won't know till it plays out.

 I absolutely get how anyone representing russia in a favourable light would be an irritant. We just don't know if something bigger is afoot.

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