Belarusian Oleg Novitsky launched into space
Cosmic expedition headed by Belarusian Oleg Novitsky takes off from Baikonur onboard Soyuz Vehicle today, October 23, 2012 at 1:51 p.m. Minsk time.
The State Commission approved the candidature of Belarusian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky as a head of the International Space Station (ISS). Together with Oleg Russian cosmonaut Yevgeny Tarelkin and astronaut Kevin Ford (USA) flied off to the space on board of Soyuz TMA-06M. The coupling is due on October 25. The flight will last approximately 148 days (it is about five months). The crew has to carry out 40 experiments and meet several cosmic "trucks". The astronauts also promised to keep a photo blog from space.
Oleg Novitsky was born on October 12, 1971 in Cherven, Minsk Region, Belarus.
After graduating from Borisoglebsk Higher Military Aviation School named by Chkalov, Novitsky entered Military Service in 1989 - serving as a cadet in the Kachin Higher Military Aviation School from which he graduated as a pilot-engineer in 1994. Afterwards, he served 10 years as a pilot, senior pilot and deputy commander of the Air Squadron Attack Aviation Regiment, the 4th Army, Air Defense and North Caucasian Military District.
From 2004 to 2006, he attended the Air Force Academy. In 2006, he became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and continued to serve as the Commander of the Air Squadron Attack Aviation Regiment. He was awarded several medals and honors for his service.
He mastered flying the L-39 and Su-25 Aircraft logging more than 600 hours becoming a 2nd class military pilot. Novitsky retired from service in 2012. In mid-2006, he was tested as a potential Cosmonaut Candidate and underwent medical evaluations. On October 11, 2006, Novitsky was accepted for Cosmonaut Training by the Interdepartmental Commission. In February 2007, he reported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City for two years of basic Cosmonaut Training and evaluations.
In mid-2008, Novitsky participated in Soyuz Landing Training in the Ukraine practicing water landings with Sergei Revin and Elene Serova. On June 2, 2009, he completed astronaut training and he officially became a Test Cosmonaut after the June 9 Meeting of the Interagency Qualification Committee. He passed with excellent grades. Novitsky continued training at the Gagarin Training Center and the Baikonur Cosmodrome where he trained for an ISS Flight. In January 2010, he went to the Johnson Space Center to represent the Russian Space Agency. Later that year, Novitsky participated in survival training in the Kazakh desert.
His first flight assignment came later that year when it was announced that Novitsky would be a part of the Backup Crew for Soyuz TMA-04M and a prime crew member of the ISS Expedition 33/34 Mission which is his first space flight.
He started training for his flight in the participating ISS countries and completed module-specific training at the various space centers.
In January 2012, Novitsky completed survival training in a forest near Moscow and in March, he completed Russian ISS Segment Life Support Systems Training with an 8-hour evaluation test. In April, Novitsky finished Soyuz TMA Flight Training and passed the final exams for both, Soyuz Operations and Russian ISS Segment Procedures.
Novitsky is married and has one daughter.
Before Oleg Novitsky only two Belarusians flied spaceward as commander of the spaceship - Pyotr Klimuk and Vladimir Kovalenok.