Roscosmos Launches New Trio To Space Station
October 23, 2012

Roscosmos Launches New Trio To Space Station

[WATCH VIDEO: New Trio Launches To Join Expedition 33]

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

Russian space agency Roscosmos launched three new International Space Station (ISS) crew members at 6:51 a.m. (5:51 p.m. local time) on Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The three passengers, Flight Engineers Kevin Ford, Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, will remain in orbit for a few days before docking with the station´s Poisk module at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, joining Expedition 33 crew Commander Sunita Williams, and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Aki Hoshide, who have bee on the ISS since July 17.

Once the new team arrive at the orbiting lab, Expedition 33 will become a six-person crew until November 12, when Williams, Malenchenko and Hoshide undock from the Rassvet module and return home in their Soyuz TMA-05M capsule. Their undocking will bring an end to Expedition 33, as Ford becomes Commander of Expedition 34.

This is Ford´s second mission in space. He last flew to the ISS aboard the space shuttle Discovery during STS-128. The two week mission delivered experiments and gear to the station and exchanged two Expedition 20 crew members. This is the first spaceflight for both Novitskiy and Tarelkin.

Three more crew members are already in training at Star City, Russia for the next launch to the space station. Veteran astronauts Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn along with veteran cosmonaut Roman Romanenko will launch on December 5 to complete the Expedition 34 crew.

Hadfield, who last visited the ISS in April 2001, will become the first Canadian to take on the role of Commander when Expedition 35 begins in March. Hadfield helped install the Canadarm2 robotic arm during two spacewalks in 2001.

According to Associated Press reporter Peter Leonard, the new trio will be part of the historic first-ever arrival of Orbital Sciences Corp.´s commercial cargo vehicle Cygnus, set for a December launch.