First in Two Decades: Female Astronaut Yelena Serova

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Russian astronauts Alexandr Samokutyayev and Elena Serova, together with NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore arrived at the International Space Station on Friday. Serova is the first female Russian astronaut to head to space in 17 years.

Russian astronauts Alexandr Samokutyayev and Elena Serova, together with NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore arrived at the International Space Station on Friday. Serova is the first female Russian astronaut to head to space in 17 years.

© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankElena Serova is the fourth Russian woman to have gone to space. The first was Major General Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, who is the only woman to date to have completed a solo space flight. Svetlana Savitskaya made two trips, in 1982 and 1984. Later, astronaut Elena Kondakova would make the trip twice, in 1994 and 1997.
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Elena Serova is the fourth Russian woman to have gone to space. The first was Major General Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, who is the only woman to date to have completed a solo space flight. Svetlana Savitskaya made two trips, in 1982 and 1984. Later, astronaut Elena Kondakova would make the trip twice, in 1994 and 1997.
© RIA Novosti . Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankThe Soyuz-FG launch vehicle carried the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft, which brought the new crew to the ISS. The mission was launched on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility.
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The Soyuz-FG launch vehicle carried the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft, which brought the new crew to the ISS. The mission was launched on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility.
© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankSerova promised her husband, fellow astronaut Mark Serov, and daughter Elena that she would call them regularly. The ISS currently remains in contact with the Earth using several different means of communication, but even if they did not exist, Serova said that she would agree to live and work in space for six months, because there are “no bounds to how much she loves and trusts her husband and daughter.”

Above: The member crew of Soyuz TMA-14M astronaut Yelena Serova during examination of the space craft.
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Serova promised her husband, fellow astronaut Mark Serov, and daughter Elena that she would call them regularly. The ISS currently remains in contact with the Earth using several different means of communication, but even if they did not exist, Serova said that she would agree to live and work in space for six months, because there are “no bounds to how much she loves and trusts her husband and daughter.”

Above: The member crew of Soyuz TMA-14M astronaut Yelena Serova during examination of the space craft.
© RIA Novosti . Ruslan Krivobok / Go to the photo bankBefore the flight, Serova told journalists that she is proud of her mission: “I will be the first Russian woman to fly to the ISS. I feel a great sense of responsibility to the people who trained and prepared us, and want to tell them: We won’t let you down!”

Above: Atronaut Yelena Serova during a training session at the Hydrolab water immersion facility in Star City.
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Before the flight, Serova told journalists that she is proud of her mission: “I will be the first Russian woman to fly to the ISS. I feel a great sense of responsibility to the people who trained and prepared us, and want to tell them: We won’t let you down!”

Above: Atronaut Yelena Serova during a training session at the Hydrolab water immersion facility in Star City.
© Yury Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center / Go to the photo bankAbove: Members of the ISS-41/42 mission Alexandr Samokutyayev, Elena Serova and Barry Wilmore (left to right) during a training simulation after landing in a forested marshland environment during the winter at the Yuri Gagarin Research and Testing Cosmonaut Training Center.
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Above: Members of the ISS-41/42 mission Alexandr Samokutyayev, Elena Serova and Barry Wilmore (left to right) during a training simulation after landing in a forested marshland environment during the winter at the Yuri Gagarin Research and Testing Cosmonaut Training Center.
© RIA Novosti . Ruslan Krivobok / Go to the photo bankAbove: Yelena Serova training in the neutral buoyancy laboratory in Star City near Moscow.
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Above: Yelena Serova training in the neutral buoyancy laboratory in Star City near Moscow.
© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankAbove: Members of the crew of the manned transport spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14M US astronaut Barry Wilmore and Russian astronauts Alexandr Samokutyayev and Elena Serova after fitting their spacesuits.
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Above: Members of the crew of the manned transport spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14M US astronaut Barry Wilmore and Russian astronauts Alexandr Samokutyayev and Elena Serova after fitting their spacesuits.
© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankAlexandr Samokutyayev said that psychologically the crew was completely ready for the flight. “We were trained to deal with any psychologically stressful situations that might arise, but we understand that problems may arise at any moment, even before the flight, as we’re standing by the rocket, or any time later on. However, I am certain that our crew will be able handle anything. We respect one another, and if necessary, will overcome any psychologically difficult situations,” Samokutyayev said.

From left: NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, astronauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Yelena Serova, members of the ISS 39/40 main crew, ahead of a test on the model of the Soyuz TMA_M carrier at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Zvyozdny Gorodok (Star Town).
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Alexandr Samokutyayev said that psychologically the crew was completely ready for the flight. “We were trained to deal with any psychologically stressful situations that might arise, but we understand that problems may arise at any moment, even before the flight, as we’re standing by the rocket, or any time later on. However, I am certain that our crew will be able handle anything. We respect one another, and if necessary, will overcome any psychologically difficult situations,” Samokutyayev said.

From left: NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, astronauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Yelena Serova, members of the ISS 39/40 main crew, ahead of a test on the model of the Soyuz TMA_M carrier at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Zvyozdny Gorodok (Star Town).
© RIA Novosti . Ruslan Krivobok / Go to the photo bankAbove: Yelena Serova training at the neutral buoyancy laboratory in Star City.
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Above: Yelena Serova training at the neutral buoyancy laboratory in Star City.
© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankAccording to Samokutyayev, the crew managed not only to train, but even to relax at Baikonur before liftoff.

Above: The Soyuz TMA-14M main crew - Roscosmos astronauts Alexander Samokutyayev, right, and Yelena Serova and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore plant trees at the Baikonur Space Center.
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According to Samokutyayev, the crew managed not only to train, but even to relax at Baikonur before liftoff.

Above: The Soyuz TMA-14M main crew - Roscosmos astronauts Alexander Samokutyayev, right, and Yelena Serova and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore plant trees at the Baikonur Space Center.
© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankAbove: Yelena Serova, member of the crew of the manned transport spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14M in a gym at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
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Above: Yelena Serova, member of the crew of the manned transport spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14M in a gym at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
© RIA Novosti . Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankAlexandr Samokutyayev and Elena Serova brought a small stuffed leopard toy with them, nicknamed ‘Mur’, a new character on the popular Russian children’s evening television program ‘Goodnight, Little Ones!’ Serova’s daughter gave her a toy version of the Olympic bunny from Sochi, which will become the mascot for the flight, and will demonstrate the weightlessness of the crew of the ISS-41/42 mission. Crew Commander Alexander Samokutyayev explained that while it is traditionally the crew commander who chooses the mission mascot, in this case, due to the presence of a female astronaut, the choice of a mascot was given to her.

Above: Roscosmos astronauts Alexander Samokutyayev and Yelena Serova at a news conference at the Baikonur Space Center prior to the launch of the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft aboard the Sozyuz-FG rocket.
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Alexandr Samokutyayev and Elena Serova brought a small stuffed leopard toy with them, nicknamed ‘Mur’, a new character on the popular Russian children’s evening television program ‘Goodnight, Little Ones!’ Serova’s daughter gave her a toy version of the Olympic bunny from Sochi, which will become the mascot for the flight, and will demonstrate the weightlessness of the crew of the ISS-41/42 mission. Crew Commander Alexander Samokutyayev explained that while it is traditionally the crew commander who chooses the mission mascot, in this case, due to the presence of a female astronaut, the choice of a mascot was given to her.

Above: Roscosmos astronauts Alexander Samokutyayev and Yelena Serova at a news conference at the Baikonur Space Center prior to the launch of the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft aboard the Sozyuz-FG rocket.
© RIA Novosti . Roman Sokolov / Go to the photo bankSerova did not have to radically change her hairstyle before the flight. She promised to show live on the air how it is possible to wash her hair in five minutes in space. “My hairstyle will change slightly, but its length will remain about the same. When I was undergoing part of my training in the United States, I was taught how to wash my hair in literally about five minutes. There will be no difficulties connected to this on the ISS,” she said. Serova explained that taking care of long hair is not difficult in space, and that in some respects it may even be easier to manage than short hair.

Above: Serova plays billiards at the Baikonur cosmodrome.
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Serova did not have to radically change her hairstyle before the flight. She promised to show live on the air how it is possible to wash her hair in five minutes in space. “My hairstyle will change slightly, but its length will remain about the same. When I was undergoing part of my training in the United States, I was taught how to wash my hair in literally about five minutes. There will be no difficulties connected to this on the ISS,” she said. Serova explained that taking care of long hair is not difficult in space, and that in some respects it may even be easier to manage than short hair.

Above: Serova plays billiards at the Baikonur cosmodrome.
© RIA Novosti . Vladimir Rodionov / Go to the photo bankAbpve: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev during a meeting with women who work in “unfeminine” professions at the state guest residence in Barvikha. From left to right – emergency diving specialist Irina Vorozhbit and Energia rocket engineer Elena Serova, March 6, 2009.
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Abpve: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev during a meeting with women who work in “unfeminine” professions at the state guest residence in Barvikha. From left to right – emergency diving specialist Irina Vorozhbit and Energia rocket engineer Elena Serova, March 6, 2009.
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