The prelaunch press conference for the incoming International Space Station (ISS) crew will be held online for the first time on April 8 in the light of COVID-19 pandemic and organized by the Rossiya Segodnya news agency, the media said in a press release on Tuesday
Departing astronauts regularly hold press briefings at the Baikonur spaceport that are attended by relatives, journalists, and representatives of space agencies. In any case, astronauts will answer questions while behind glass, as is standard.
“During the event, the astronauts, as observers, will answer journalists’ questions, which will be voiced by a moderator from the international multimedia press center of Rossiya Segodnya in Moscow and a moderator from the Baikonur spaceport. Readers of the RIA Novosti website and agency’s subscribers will also be able to ask their questions via social networks,” the press release read.
The ISS crew currently comprises Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and US astronauts Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir. On April 9, Russian cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, and US astronaut Christopher Cassidy are expected to replace them. The backup crew members are Steve Bowen of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Babkin of Russia’s Roscosmos.
Earlier in March, it was reported that the prelaunch preparations had undergone changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. The astronauts are now banned from participating in public events, and even the traditional trip to the Kremlin wall, where Yuri Gagarin’s ashes are interred, was canceled.