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The ISS Is Getting Its First Ever Female Cosmonaut Crew Member Tomorrow

Soyuz better be excited!

See that person on the right of this picture Commander Chris Hadfield tweeted out this morning? That’s Russian Cosmonaut Elena Olegovna Serova, and tomorrow afternoon, she’s joining Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Barry E. Wilmore (both also pictured) as they make their way into space for the 41st Expedition to the International Space Station. There, she’ll become the first female Russian cosmonaut to ever board the ISS.

In addition to being the first Russian woman aboard the International Space Station, Serova will also be the fourth Russian woman in space, and the first in 17 years since Yelena Kondakova’s space shuttle mission in 1997. She was selected for Expedition 41 in 2006 and will serve as a flight engineer alongside Wilmore and Commander Samokutyaey, as well Commander Max Suraev, Reid Wiseman, and Alexander Gerst, who have already been on the ISS a few months. The trio’s arrival will also mark the full start of Expedition 41, for which the ISS is getting new research equipment, the first 3D printer designed for use in microgravity, and even the beginnings of a rodent habitat.

Serova is excited to be a part of the mission according to a translated interview, in which she cites the first woman ever in space, Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, as her inspiration. “The door to space was opened to all women by Valentina Tereshkova,” she told NASA.

(via @CmdHadfield on Twitter)

Previously in space news

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