November 29, 2004

U.S.-Russian Crew Re-Docks Spaceship

MOSCOW -- The U.S.-Russian crew of the international space station successfully re-docked a spaceship at a new port on the station Monday in preparation for two spacewalks early next year, Mission Control said.

Russian Salizhan Sharipov and American Leroy Chiao re-docked the Soyuz TMA-5 spaceship after a 23-minute flight from the Pirs docking port to the Zarya cargo module, Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin said.

Sharipov used manual controls to move the Soyuz 100 to 165 feet away from the station and then re-approach.

The re-docking was aimed at ensuring "maximum safety" of the crewmen when they leave and re-enter the station through the Pirs for the two spacewalks scheduled for January and March, Lyndin said.

After about two and half hours in the spacecraft, the crewmen returned to the station and began reactivating the ventilation and life-support systems on the station, which had been put in conservation mode for the time it was unoccupied.