Today is International Women’s Day! Despite having the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, Russia has only sent two other women into space. Svetlana Savitskaya made a trip to Salyut 7 in 1982 and became the first woman to perform a spacewalk in 1984. Yelena Kondakova was the first woman to be part of a long-duration mission on Mir in 1994. These were just those that made it into space, there were many other women selected.
Yelena Serova and Anna Kikina are part of the active group of cosmonauts. Serova will be part of ISS expeditions 41 and 42 starting in Sept 2014. Kikina is new, she was selected in Oct 2012 and is in basic training for the next two years.
Aleksandr Serebrov turns 69 today. He was selected in 1978 from the design bureau Energiya and has made four flights into space. He became the first to use the Soviet SPK, an astronaut propulsion unit, to leave the Mir space station in 1990, as seen here. After retiring in 1995 from the cosmonaut group, Serebrov worked for the Russian secretary of defence.
Parts of the Soyuz TM-24 crew: Valery Korzun, Pavel Vinogradov, Claudie Haigneré (France), Aleksandr Kaleri and Léopold Eyharts (France). The original prime crew of Gennady Manakov, Vinogradov and Haigneré was changed five days before the launch, as Manakov had a medical problem. Haigneré stayed with the Russians being exchanged for Korzun and Kaleri. (1996)
Vladimir Aksyonov celebrates his birthday today. He has two flights to his credit: Soyuz 22 (1976) and Soyuz T-2 (1980). Before becoming a cosmonaut in 1973, he worked as an engineer on the Vostok, Voskhod and Soyuz spacecrafts and the Salyut space stations.
Maksim Surayev, Gregory Wiseman (NASA) and Alexander Gerst (Germany) participated in winter survival training. This simulates what it would be like if the Soyuz landed in winter and the rescue team could not reach the crew for a couple of days. This crew will be part of ISS expeditions 40/41 starting in May 2014.
Talgat Musabayev as a backup for the Soyuz TM-13 mission. The patch on his right is for the Kazakh Soviet Republic. As this flight was after the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was a good will gesture to include a Kazakh cosmonaut. The Russian space agency wanted to continue to use Baikonur, which is in Kazakhstan. (1991)