Elena Olegovna Serova, born on April 22, 1976 in Vozdvizhenka, Ussuriysk Region, Russia is a Russian engineer and Cosmonaut. She will be the fourth female Cosmonaut to conduct a space flight and the first female Cosmonaut to visit the International Space Station.
Serova enrolled in the Aerospace Faculty of Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), graduating in 2001 with the qualification of an engineer. While at MAI, Serova worked at NII as a cryogenics technician. After completing her studies, Serova transitioned to RSC Energia in August 2001, starting as an engineer working on space projects. In 2003, she graduated from the Moscow State Academy of instrument-making and information as an economist. At Energia, she completed a postgraduate course with science-related activities.
In late 2004, she became a class-two engineer within the Lead Operations Control Team at the Russian Mission Control Center working in Mission operations related to the ISS and Soyuz programs. Elena Serova filed an application for Energia’s Cosmonaut Program in 2005 and began medical testing at IMBP in the fall of 2005. She passed medical testing by February 2006. Serova was selected as a Cosmonaut Candidate in October of 2006 by the Interdepartmental Commission as part of the RSC Energia detachment.
Reporting to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Serova underwent two years of basic spaceflight training and evaluations beginning in February 2007. As part of that training, she participated in a training operation in the Ukraine, simulating a water landing of the Soyuz with Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Sergey Revin. Serova continued training within the ISS program to prepare for the long duration mission.
In 2008, Elena Serova became a Test Cosmonaut, receiving Cosmonaut Certificate #207. RSC Energia awarded her the rank of test cosmonaut in 2009 (#118) with good results in the state examinations. In April 2010, Serova was qualified as a Cosmonaut of RSC Energia.
Continuing training within the ISS program, Serova underwent a three-day survival training in the Kazakh desert with fellow Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Sergey Ryzhikov. A Roscosmos order led to Serova leaving the RSC Energia detachment in 2011, transferring to the Test Cosmonaut Corps of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
In December 2011, Serova was assigned to position on the Expedition 41/42 crew to serve as a Flight Engineer aboard ISS and on Soyuz TMA-14M. She started mission-specific training with the prime crew of Aleksandr Samokutyaev and Barry Wilmore going through ISS and Soyuz-related training at the various facilities of NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
In January 2013, the crew passed survival training in winter conditions in a forest near Moscow to train for emergency Soyuz landings in extreme weather conditions. By February 2014, Serova was cleared by Russian flight doctors as part of her assignment to the Expedition 39/40 backup crew.
In February and March 2014, she and her crew underwent final exams in ISS and Soyuz operations passing with an excellent grade of 4.97 – being declared ready for flight on the Soyuz as a Flight Engineer. The backup crew was officially declared ready for flight on March 24, 2014, but the backup crew was not needed for the mission of Soyuz TMA-12M.
Samokutyaev, Wilmore and Serova are currently the prime crew for the Soyuz TMA-14M mission and ISS Expedition 41/42.
Elena Serova is married to Cosmonaut Mark Serov who entered the Cosmonaut group in 2003, but retired for health reasons without performing a mission. They have one daughter, Yelena Markovna, born in 2004.