Headlines > News > New Station Crew Docks to Poisk Module

New Station Crew Docks to Poisk Module

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu May 17, 2012 8:21 am via: NASA
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Three new Expedition 31 crew members Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin docked to the International Space Station’s Poisk module Thursday at 12:36 a.m. EDT. They began their journey two days earlier when they launched aboard a Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Currently, the hatches between the two spacecraft are closed as the vehicles undergo leak and pressure checks. After about three hours, once those checks are complete, Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers will open the hatches and welcome their new crewmates.

The new trio will join the crew for a greeting ceremony and conference with family and mission officials then conduct a safety briefing afterwards. It will then be back to business for the current station residents while their newly arrived crew mates begin several days of familiarization tasks as they adjust to life aboard the orbital laboratory.

The docking occurred on Acaba’s 45th birthday. He previously visited the station in March 2009 aboard space shuttle Discovery as an STS-119 mission specialist. This is Padalka’s fourth long-duration spaceflight and his third aboard the station. His first mission was aboard Russian Space Station Mir. Revin is making his first trip into space.

Padalka is due to become Expedition 32 commander when Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers undock July 1 in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft after a six-month stay officially ending Expedition 31. Expedition 32 will be complemented two weeks later when it is joined by Flight Engineers Suni Williams, Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide.

While the space station transitions to six-member operations, SpaceX ground controllers are gearing up for the May 19 launch of the Dragon capsule. The first commercial cargo craft is scheduled to launch at 4:55 a.m. with the Canadarm2 grappling Dragon May 22 for a berthing to the Harmony node.

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