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New Crew Members En Route to Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Apr 3, 2010 11:05 am via: NASA
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(NASA) – Three new Expedition 23 flight engineers launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft at 12:04 a.m. EDT Friday to join their colleagues aboard the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a two-day journey to the orbiting complex

The Soyuz TMA-18 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

The Soyuz TMA-18 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi are currently the sole residents on the station, having arrived Dec. 22 aboard their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft.

Caldwell Dyson, Skvortsov and Kornienko will complete the Expedition 23 crew when they dock to the station shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Kotov, Creamer and Noguchi wrapped up a busy week Friday as they prepared their orbital home for its new residents and geared up for joint operations set to begin when space shuttle Discovery arrives on April 7. Discovery and the STS-131 crew are scheduled to launch April 5 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver new science racks and ammonia tanks.

Kotov conducted a survey of the Russian segment of the station, estimating the stowage space available for additional equipment. Afterward he set up hardware for a Russian science experiment that remotely measures methane and carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.

Creamer spent some time in the Kibo module working with botanical experiments studying the formation of wood cells and demonstrating non-destructive techniques for collecting genetic information. The facilities aboard the station provide a unique platform for scientists on Earth to remotely study the growth of whole plants in a controlled, weightless environment.

Later, Creamer changed out the recycle filter tank assembly of the water recovery system. He also performed a fill of the wastewater storage tank assembly of the urine processor assembly, which is now running normally.

In preparation for the Soyuz docking, Creamer and Kotov configured video equipment in the Russian and U.S. segments of the station to downlink streaming video of Sunday’s activities.

Meanwhile, Noguchi conducted a monthly inspection of fire detectors and emergency provisions and gathered up additional hardware for return to Earth aboard the shuttle.

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