Sergey Ryzhikov, an upcoming Russian member of the new International Space Station crew, said he is going to take "the Gospels, icons, letters from his relatives and stones from Mount Tabor" with him in the Sept. 23 trek. At a press conference this week in the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Ryzhikov also said the crew is called "Tabor" after the holy mount in Israel where Christ was supposed to transfigure 40 days before the crucifix.
The launch of the piloted spaceship "Soyuz MS-02" will deliver the new crew to the ISS, with Ryzhikov as commander of the flight crew. The planned duration of the Soyuz MS-02 flight is 155 days, reports Interfax.
MS-02 will be the 131st flight of a Soyuz spacecraft.
According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) records, 42-year-old Ryzhikov graduated from the Kacha Air Force Pilot School as pilot-engineer in 1996. He was awarded medals for distinguished military service of class 2 and 3, medal for military valor of class 2. He was selected as a test-cosmonaut candidate of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Cosmonaut Office in October of 2006 (cosmonauts group 14). When he finished basic space training in June 2009, he qualified as test-cosmonaut.
From 1996 till 1997, Ryzhikov served as a pilot of the training air regiment in Saratov Region; in 1997 as a senior pilot of the fighter air regiment in Tver Region; from 1997 till 2007 as a pilot, senior pilot, chief of an air flight, chief executive officer of the fighter air regiment in Chita Region. He is a retired major of the Russian Air Force, Class 2 military pilot.
Kimbrough, 41, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1989. A year later he served in Operation Desert Storm with the 24th Infantry Division as an attack helicopter platoon leader. In 1994 he was assigned to the 229th Aviation Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded an Apache helicopter company. He earned a master of science degree from Georgia Tech in 1998 and taught math at West Point. He joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center in September 2000, and was selected as an astronaut four years later.