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Crewmembers and their responsibilities

The Soyuz vehicle can accommodate a crew of two to three:

David Saint-Jacques practises emergency manoeuvres in the Soyuz simulator

David Saint-Jacques continues his training in the Soyuz simulator in Star City with cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, who will be one of his crewmates during Expedition 58. (Credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center)


The commander sits in the middle seat, and assumes primary responsibilities for mission completion, crew activities and crew safety.

The commander is also responsible for all Soyuz manoeuvres:

In an emergency, crewmembers can rely on the crew commander.

To guarantee the safety of the Soyuz crew, members can be no taller than six feet three inches (1.90 m). The tallest Canadian Space Agency astronaut, Jeremy Hansen, just barely fit!


The co-pilot (or flight engineer) sits to the left of the commander and assists with the commander's duties, and must be ready to take over entirely if a situation prevents the commander from performing those duties.

As part of Expedition 58, David Saint-Jacques will be the co-pilot for commander Oleg Kononenko aboard the Soyuz spacecraft. He has undergone rigorous training to support the pilot and take control of the Soyuz spacecraft should a situation arise.

The co-pilot is primarily responsible for vehicle systems and their proper use, especially during contingencies. This includes, but is not limited to, the following tasks:

Canadian Astronaut Steve MacLean

On Flight Day 9, Steve MacLean (centre) and Jeff Williams are inside the Soyuz TMA Capsule, docked to the International Space Station (ISS). Steve and Jeff are floating in the centre section of the Soyuz, the Entry Module. (Credit: NASA)

Flight engineer or cosmonaut researcher

Sitting to the right of the commander, the flight engineer or cosmonaut researcher:


A passenger (or space tourist) sometimes flies in the third seat of the Soyuz. However, that person first must complete the basic training required for all crewmembers, which takes nearly a year.

Each launch has a prime crew and backup crew. The backup crew is qualified to replace the prime crew as needed. They also participate in all pre-launch steps: qualification exam, traditional ceremonies, quarantine, press conferences and State Commission meetings to approve the launch.

David Saint-Jacques and his crewmates Anne McClain and Oleg Kononenko were the backup crew for Expedition 56/57, which flew to the ISS on . David was also be a backup astronaut for Expedition 57/58.

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