New Space Station Crew Members Launch From Kazakhstan
HOUSTON — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka launched to the International Space Station aboard their Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft at 6:10 p.m. CDT, Thursday, (5:10 a.m. Friday local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Kelly, Soyuz commander Kaleri and Skripochka are scheduled to dock with their new home at 7:02 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9. They will join Expedition 25 crewmates Doug Wheelock, a NASA astronaut and the station’s commander, NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who have been aboard the station since June 17.
The six-person crew will usher in the next decade of continuous human presence on the station, continuing scientific research and station maintenance activities. The station residents will welcome the crew of the last flight of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission, targeted to launch Nov. 1. The shuttle will deliver critical supplies and the Permanent Multipurpose Module that will provide additional storage for the station crew, and experiments may be conducted inside it.
Yurchikhin and Skripochka are scheduled to conduct a spacewalk in Russian Orlan suits in mid-November to work on science experiments and hardware on the station’s Russian segment.
Wheelock, Walker and Yurchikhin, who launched to the station on June 15, are scheduled to return to Earth on Nov. 29. Before departing, Wheelock will hand over command of the station to Kelly for Expedition 26, which begins when the Soyuz TMA-19 undocks Nov. 29.
NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dimitry Kondratyev and European Space Agency astronaut PÃ¡olo NÃ©spoli will join Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka in orbit to complete the Expedition 26 crew. Their Soyuz currently is scheduled to launch Dec. 13 and will dock to the station on Dec. 15.
Source and photo: NASA