The Soyuz MS-18 manned transport spacecraft is currently undergoing a prelaunch preparation for the delivery of members of the 65th main expedition to the International Space Station. Ahead of the launch, the spacecraft has received its own name, Yuri A. Gagarin.
As of now, the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with the Soyuz MS-18 manned spacecraft is scheduled for April 9, 2021. The launch date falls just three days before the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. According to tradition, the space mission is dedicated to the first cosmonaut of the planet Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin. Additionally, the lunch vehicle’s nose will carry the official symbols of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight in space.
The previous launch of the Yuri Gagarin spacecraft of the Soyuz-TMA series took place on April 5th 2011. At the time, the launched coincided with the half-century anniversary of the beginning of manned space exploration.