Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Skvortsov is a Russian Test and Pilot Cosmonaut and a retired Colonel in the Russian Air Force. He was born on May 6, 1966 in Schelkovo, Moscow Region. His father Aleksandr Skvortsov was a Russian Cosmonaut enrolled in training from 1965 to '68; he left the Cosmonaut group for medical reasons without a space flight.
Skvortsov finished secondary school No. 2 in Morshansk, Tambov Region in 1983 and began training at Stavropol Military Aviation School of Pilots and Navigators from which he graduated in 1987 with a specialty in Command-Tactical Fighter Defense Aviation. He served as pilot from 1987, becoming a senior pilot in 1989 and being appointed the Commander of Aviation Flight of the 191st fighter air regiment, 7th AAD Corps stationed in Yefremov, Tula Region. Overall, Skvortsov logged more than 950 hours flying a variety of aircraft including the L-39, MiG-23UB, MiG-23M, MiG-23P.
In the 1990s, he attended the Aviation Faculty of the AAD Military Academy after G.K. Zhukov. Graduating in 1997, Skvortsov had gained skills in Navigation, Operational-Tactical Fighter Defense Aviation.
On June 20, 1997, the Ministry of Defense enlisted Skvortsov as Cosmonaut Candidate and on July 28, the State Interdepartmental Commission officially recommended him for Cosmonaut Training. Skvortsov reported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in January 1998 for two years of General Space Training. He received his qualification as a Test Cosmonaut in December 1999. Starting in 2000, Aleksandr Skvortsov began specific training for a mission to the International Space Station. In 2004 and 2007, Skvortsov completed survival trainings before receiving his first crew assignment to the backup crew of ISS Expedition 21. He trained with Shannon Walker as part of the Soyuz TMA-16 backup crew before both were re-assigned to prime crew positions.
In 2008, he was assigned to the prime crew of Expedition 23/24 and the Commander position on Soyuz TMA-18 that would fly his crew to the Station and back. During final training, Skvortsov and his crew received excellent grades and were approved for space flight.
Soyuz TMA-18 and its crew of Commander Aleksandr Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson launched atop a Soyuz FG rocket on April 2, 2010. After a safe ride into orbit despite communication difficulties, Soyuz TMA-18 started a two-day rendezvous with ISS, docking to the Poisk module on April 4. Joining the three crew members in orbit, Oleg Kotov, Soichi Noguchi and Timothy Creamer, the three new ISS residents began a busy sprint of two months of operations to close out Expedition 23.
Shortly after the Soyuz arrived at the Station, the crew welcomed Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-131. Discovery launched on April 5, 2010 and docked two days later for a ten-day stay highlighted by extensive transfer operations from the MPLM Leonardo that was brought to ISS by Discovery.
A number of large science and systems racks were moved to ISS including the Window Observation Facility. Three EVAs were performed to install an Ammonia Tank Assembly, replace a Control Moment Gyro and make a number of smaller outfitting tasks. Discovery departed ISS and landed safely on April 20.
Aboard ISS, nominal business continued in April and May ahead of the arrival of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-132 that delivered the Russian Rassvet module to the Station that was installed robotically on the Russian Segment and was ingressed by the Russian crew members for initial checks. The mission also featured three EVAs to outfit the exterior of the Station with tasks such as the installation of new antennas and batteries as well as different reconfiguration tasks on external hardware. Atlantis departed ISS for landing after a 12-day mission.
On June 2, the crew members parted ways as Soyuz TMA-17 undocked and brought Kotov, Noguchi and Creamer back to Earth after their six-month flight. Aleksandr Skvortsov assumed Command of ISS for Expedition 24 that started with 15 days of three-crew operations before Soyuz TMA-19 arrived at ISS delivering the Expedition 24/25 crew of Fyodor Yurchikhin, Shannon Walker and Doug Wheelock.
In July, Kornienko and Yurchikhin performed a Russian stage EVA to outfit the newly arrived Rassvet module by installing cables and cameras. On July 31, one of two Ammonia Pump Modules installed on the Station's truss failed and left the station with half of its cooling capability. In response to the failure, Caldwell Dyson and Wheelock performed three EVAs in August to remove and replace the pump with a spare.
On September 24, the crew members said good-bye as Soyuz TMA-18 was set for its return to Earth to bring Skvortsov, Kornienko and Caldwell Dyson back to Earth. The Soyuz could not undock on time because of a problem with the docking mechanism related to a faulty micro-switch - giving the crew an extra day in space. Finally, on September 25, the trio undocked and successfully returned to Earth, closing out a 176-day space flight.
After post-flight operations, Skvortsov entered ISS training again and in 2011 was assigned to the prime crew of Expedition 39/40. He will again serve as Soyuz Commander on the TMA-12M spacecraft that will deliver his crew to ISS using the six-hour rendezvous. His crew mates are Oleg Artemyev and Steve Swanson.
Aleksandr Skvortsov is married to Yelena Grigorievna Skvortsova (Krasnikova). Their daughter Anna Aleksandrovna Skvortsova was born in 1990. Skvortsov's hobbies include diving, soccer, badminton, fishing, hunting, and tourism.