Oleg Valeriyevich Kotov is a Russian Cosmonaut, pilot and physician. He was born on August 27, 1965 in Simeropol, Crimean oblast, Ukrainian SSR.
Kotov graduated from high school in Moscow in 1982 and entered Kirov Medical Academy from which he graduated in 1988. From 1988 to 1990, he studied functional diagnostics/methods of pilot selection at the Central Air Force Hospital. In parallel, he took a position at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. There, he served as Deputy lead test-doctor and Lead test doctor, dealing with altitude physiology and primarily the effects of space flight on the human body. Kotov worked in the training branch, served as flight surgeon and trained cosmonaut crews for biomedical and other scientific experiments. Also, he was on the medical support team for a number of spacewalks taking place at the Mir Space Station.
In 1996, Oleg Kotov entered Kachin Air Force from which he graduated as a pilot engineer in 1998.
His selection as astronaut candidate came in 1996 and Kotov started two years of basic training and evaluation. In march 1998, he received his qualification as a test cosmonaut. Following the completion of basic training, Kotov continued cosmonaut training and he also served at the Cosmonaut Training Center working in research.
From May to August 1998, Kotov underwent specialized training as a backup crew members of the Mir 26 mission. When the primary crew began that mission, Kotov transferred to the International Space Station Training Branch, starting to train for a long duration flight aboard ISS. He trained as a backup Soyuz Commander and Expedition crew member for ISS Expedition 6 and starting in 2004 for Expedition 13. With the loss of Columbia, ISS transitioned back to a crew of two and Kotov was removed from the crew. In 2002/03, Kotov trained for the Taxi-5 flight as backup crew member. Taxi 5 was a crew and Soyuz rotation flight to ISS.
Oleg Kotov's first flight assignment came in 2006 when he was selected to serve as Flight Engineer aboard ISS Expedition 15 and Commander of Soyuz TMA-10. On April 7, 2007, Kotov launched aboard Soyuz TMA-10 with Fyodor Yurchikhin and Space Tourist Charles Simonyi for docking with ISS two days later. In orbit, fellow Expedition 15 crew member Suni Williams was already waiting - she was later replaced by Clay Anderson for the second portion of Expedition 15.
Over the course of Expedition 15, the Space Station's truss segment was expanded when STS-117 and STS-118 delivered the S3/S4 and S5 Truss Segments. In addition two spacewalks were performed as part of the shuttle missions; the station crew stepped outside three times to outfit the exterior of ISS. Two were Russian-based EVAs performed by Oleg Kotov and Fyodor Yurchikhin to perform tasks on the Russian Segment. These operations included the installation of debris panels, cables and scientific equipment.
Kotov logged 11 hours and 2 minutes of EVA time during Expedition 15. Soyuz TMA-10 landed on October 21, 2007 - closing a 196-day 17-hour space flight for Yurchikhin and Kotov, and a 10-day flight for Spaceflight Participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.
Following his return to Earth and nominal post-flight operations, Kotov re-entered the ISS training branch to prepare for a second long-duration mission. He was assigned to ISS Expedition 22/23 to serve as flight engineer during Expedition 22 and command Expedition 23.
As Commander of Soyuz TMA-17, Kotov and his fellow crew members Timothy Creamer and Soichi Noguchi blasted off from Baikonur on December 20, 2009. Two days later, they joined Jeff Williams and Maksim Suraev who were already aboard ISS.
Expedition 22 was largely dedicated to science and maintenance operations aboard the Station as teams were able to log more time for scientific experiments with a crew of five aboard ISS. Oleg Kotov and Maksim Suraev performed a single EVA during Expedition 22 totaling 5 hours and 44 minutes. The EVA was performed to outfit the exterior of the newly arrived Poisk module, making it fit to accommodate visiting vehicles by installing KURS equipment and the docking target. In March, the Expedition 21/22 crew departed the Station marking the start of Expedition 23 and Kotov's tenure as Commander.
The crew was joined by the other half of the crew, namely Aleksandr Skvortsov, Mikhail Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson in April to begin regular operations. Expedition 23 oversaw two Space Shuttle visits to ISS, STS-131 of Discovery that delivered pressurized cargo via the MPLM Leonardo and STS-132 flown by Atlantis to deliver the Russian Rassvet Mini Research Module. Each of the Shuttle missions featured three EVAs to outfit the exterior of ISS. The rest of Expedition 23 was dedicated to science operations, also utilizing the new Poisk research module.
Soyuz TMA-17 returned to Earth on June 2, 2010, brining to a close a 163-day 5-hour space flight for Kotov and his crew.
Overall, Oleg Kotov has logged 359 days 22 hours and 38 minutes of time in space as part of two flights and he has completed 16 hours and 46 minutes of EVA time over three spacewalks. His third long-duration mission will be ISS Expedition 37/38 in 2013/14.
Olek Kotov is married to Svetlana Nikolayevna Kotova (previously, Bunyakina) - they have two children, a daughter born in 1994 and a son born in 2002. In his free time, Kotov enjoys diving, computers and photography. He is a certified Scuba diver.