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June 30, 2009

ISS crew prepares to move Soyuz spacecraft

Three International Space Station crew members will board an attached Soyuz spacecraft and move it to a different docking port, U.S. space officials said.

Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and astronauts Mike Barratt of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are to undock the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft Thursday from the Zvezda service module and fly a short distance to the Pirs docking compartment. The flight is expected to take about 30 minutes.

NASA said the relocation of the Soyuz spacecraft opens the Zvezda docking port for the arrival of a new Russian Progress cargo vehicle in late July.

The move is to be broadcast live online by NASA TV beginning at 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, with undocking set for 5:26 p.m.