June 18, 2010

Three New Crew Members Onboard Space Station

Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin docked with the International Space Station at 6:21 p.m. EDT Thursday. The trio began the journey to their new home when they launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

From inside the station, Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko monitored the approach of the Russian spacecraft as it docked to the aft port of the Zvezda service module.

After the completion of leak checks, the hatches between the two vehicles were opened at 8:52 p.m. Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko, who arrived at the station April 4 aboard the Soyuz TMA-18, welcomed the new Expedition 24 crew members aboard their orbital home during a welcome ceremony.

U.S. Army Col. Wheelock, 50, is making his second trip into space. As an STS-120 mission specialist aboard space shuttle Discovery in 2007, he traveled to the station and conducted three spacewalks.

Walker, 45, is a graduate of Rice University and the first native Houstonian to be named an astronaut. This is her first spaceflight.

Yurchikhin, 51, is making his third trip into space and his second long-duration stay aboard the station. He flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis on the STS-112 mission to the station in October 2002. He also spent six months aboard the station in 2007 as commander of Expedition 15.


Image Caption: The new Expedition 24 crew members are welcomed aboard the International Space Station during a ceremony shortly after the hatches between the two vehicles were opened. Credit: NASA TV


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