Roskosmos Russian Space Agency has confirmed that Aidyn Aimbetov, a Kazakhstan&rsquos cosmonaut, would be sent to the ISS in September 2015, Russia&rsquos RIA Novosti reports. Mr. Aimbetov will replace world's best-selling soprano Sarah Brightman who was supposed to go on a $52 million 10-day trip aboard the International Space Station.
According to Roskosmos, the cosmonaut is actively training for the flight. "The final decision is to be taken by all the ISS project participants; the details will be announced at the end of the moth", Igor Burenkov, a spokesman for Roskosmos, announced.
The launch of Soyuz TMA-18M with Sergei Volkov (Roskosmos), ESA's Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen and Aidan Aimbetov of KazKosmos aboard is scheduled for September 1, 2015 from the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome.
Back in May singer Sarah Brightman announced that she was postponing plans to go into space as a paying guest aboard the International Space Station. Brightman said she was putting her spaceflight on hold for personal and family reasons, and she postponed her cosmonaut training and flight plans. Satoshi Takamatsu, the Japanese astronaut backing up British singer Sarah Brightman on the flight to the International Space Station, also reportedly couldn&rsquot join the crew.
"The Russian side has notified us that our cosmonaut may be allowed to fly in September. Sarah Brightman&rsquos seat is vacant today. That is why we are considering the possibility of our cosmonaut Aimbetov's flight", Meirbek Moldabekov, deputy chairman of the Kazakh Space Agency (Kazcosmos), said earlier.
Up to now two Kazakhstan-born cosmonauts have been to the outer space. Tokhtar Aubakirov flew aboard Soyuz TM-13 as a researcher in October 1991, and Talgat Mussabayev served as a flight engineer on a flight to Mir station in 1994 and as a mission commander on flights to Mir and the ISS in 1998 and 2001 respectively.
Two Kazakhstan cosmonaut prospects - Mukhtar Aimakhanov and Aidyn Aimbetov - completed their trainings for space flights at Gagarin State-run Center for Cosmonaut Training back in 2007. One of them was supposed to fly to the ISS as part of an international crew in 2009, however, Kazakhstan postponed the plans due to austerity measures against the backdrop of the global financial crisis.
World Media Monitoring