Crew Lifts Off from Kazakhstan On Its Way To The ISS
NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko safely launched to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on Friday. Liftoff occurred at 12:04 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The three Soyuz crew members are scheduled to dock with their new home at 1:26 a.m. Sunday. Aboard the orbiting laboratory they will join Oleg Kotov, a Russian cosmonaut and station commander, T.J. Creamer, a NASA astronaut and flight engineer, and Soichi Noguchi, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut and flight engineer. The expanded Expedition 23 crew will continue science investigations and support two space shuttle missions to the station.
Kotov, Creamer and Noguchi launched to the station on Dec. 21, 2009. They are scheduled to return to Earth on June 2. Before their departure, Kotov will hand over command of the station to Skvortsov for Expedition 24. In June, NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin will join Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko in orbit to complete the Expedition 24 crew.
On April 4, coverage of the docking of Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko will begin on NASA Television at 1 a.m. NASA TV will return at 3 a.m. for coverage of the hatches opening and the welcoming ceremony between the two crews, which will take place at about 3:45 a.m. For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
To follow Twitter updates from Expedition 23 crew members Creamer and Noguchi, visit: http://twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts
For more information about the space station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
Image Caption: Expedition 23 crew members launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image credit: NASA TV