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Station Crew Off Duty After Undocking

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:03 am via: NASA
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Following a long day overseeing the departure of three International Space Station crew members, Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin enjoyed an off-duty day Monday.

The Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft carrying Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide undocked from the station’s Rassvet module at 5:26 p.m. EST Sunday and landed in the steppe of Kazakhstan northeast of the remote town of Arkalyk at 8:56 p.m. (7:56 a.m. Monday, Kazakhstan time). The return of Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko wrapped up 127 days in space for the three since their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 15, including 125 aboard the station.

The undocking marked the start of Expedition 34 for Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin, who will tend to the station as a three-man crew until the arrival of three additional flight engineers in December. NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Roman Romanenko are scheduled to launch from Baikonur Dec. 19 and dock to the station two days later for a five-month stay. Hadfield will become the first Canadian to command the station when Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin depart in March, marking the start of Expedition 35.

Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin will resume research and maintenance activities on a limited basis Tuesday before pressing back into a full complement of work Wednesday.

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