May 29, 2009
Soyuz spacecraft docks with space station
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts docked Friday with the International Space Station to begin a 180-day mission, Russian officials said.
The Soyuz launched Wednesday from the Baikonur space center carrying Frank De Winne of the European Space Agency, Robert Thirsk of the Canadian Space Agency and Roman Romanenko of Russia, RIA Novosti reported.The members of the 20th Expedition linked up aboard the station with members of the 19th Expedition, Russian Commander Gennady Padalka, U.S. Flight Engineer Michael Barratt, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
During the next 180 days, the six will unload three Russian spacecraft and a Japanese spacecraft, conduct two spacewalks and execute numerous experiments, said Anatoly Perminov, head of Russia's Federal Space Agency.
No previous mission has represented so many countries, Perminov said.