Headlines > News > Crews to Part; Station Command to Change Hands

Crews to Part; Station Command to Change Hands

Published by Matt on Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:11 pm via: source
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The 12 crew members onboard the International Space Station and space shuttle Atlantis will prepare to part today. They will pack up their final items and close the hatches that divide the two spacecraft in preparation for undocking tomorrow.

Astronaut Randy Bresnik near the Columbus laboratory. Credit: ESA

Astronaut Randy Bresnik near the Columbus laboratory. Credit: ESA

The STS-129 crew will join Expedition 21 Commander Frank De Winne and his crew when he hands over his command to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams. Williams will command Expedition 22.

De Winne, who is the first European Space Agency commander of the station, became commander on Oct. 9. He will have served 46 days, the shortest tenure thus far for a station commander. He and Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk are set to depart the station on a Soyuz on Nov. 30 leaving Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev to await the next crew.

The STS-129 mission is focused on the storage of spare hardware on the exterior of the station. The 11-day flight includes three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the station’s truss, or backbone. The platforms will hold spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired. This equipment is large and can only be transported using the unique capability of the shuttle.

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