September 30, 2009
New Station Crew Launches
The next residents of the International Space Station launched into orbit aboard a Soyuz spacecraft Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, Russian cosmonaut Max Suraev and spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte lifted off at 2:14 a.m. CDT.
Future Expedition 22 Commander Williams, Soyuz Commander Suraev and Laliberte are scheduled to dock with the station at 3:37 a.m., Friday, Oct. 2. They will spend nine days as members of a joint crew that includes Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka, NASA's Mike Barratt and Nicole Stott, the European Space Agency's Frank De Winne, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and the Canadian Space Agency's Bob Thirsk.
The nine spacefarers will answer questions from reporters during a news conference from the complex at 9:10 a.m. Oct. 6. The 30-minute news conference will be divided for U.S. journalists at NASA centers, Canadian media representatives at the Canadian Space Agency's headquarters in Quebec and European reporters. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television. For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
On Oct. 10, Padalka will transfer command of the station to De Winne, who will become commander of the next station mission, designated Expedition 21. Padalka, Barratt and Laliberte will land in Kazakhstan at about 11:29 p.m. Padalka and Barratt have been aboard the orbiting laboratory since March 2009.
Laliberte, a Canadian citizen and the founder of Cirque du Soleil, is flying to the station under an agreement between the Russian Federal Space Agency and Space Adventures, Ltd. He will spend nine days aboard the orbiting laboratory.
For more information about the space station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
Image Caption: The Soyuz TMA-16 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: NASA TV