Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New crew members arrive at Space Station

Three new crew members arrived at their port-of-call tonight as a Russian Soyuz craft docked with earth's orbital outpost.

A Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft docked with the Russian Zarya section of the International Space Station at 5:48:20 pm EST (1:48 am Moscow time) this evening 220 miles off the east coast of southern Brazil.

"Welcome to station, guys, your home for six months," Williams stated ten minutes later.

Soyuz commander Oleg V. Kotov brought the craft into a slow approach with the station to 150 meters prior to docking. An automatic docking system piloted the Soyuz to Zarya earth-facing port minutes ahead of schedule.

Joining Kotov inside the Soyuz is American astronaut Timothy J. Creamer and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. All three are just two days into their six month journey upon the ocean of space.

The space trio will join current station crew members,
Expedition 22 Commander Jeffery Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev, who have been aboard the space station since October 2.

Kotov, who will serve as flight engineer during the Expedition 22, and in March assume the title of station commander as the Expedition 23 timeline begins with the Soyuz TMA16 undocking on March 18th.

Russian cosmonauts Suraev and Kotov on January 14 will perform a spacewalk and complete some work outside of the Poisk module which is connected to the Zvezda module.

Kotov, Creamer and
Noguchi will undock from station aboard the Soyuz TMA 17 for the trip back to earth this May.

Hatch opening could occur as early as 7:35 pm EST.

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