Headlines > News > Expedition39/40 Trio Launches to Complete Crew

Expedition39/40 Trio Launches to Complete Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:11 pm via: NASA
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A new trio of Expedition 39 crewmembers has departed for the International Space Station, launching at 5:17 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. They will arrive less than six hours later for a docking to the Poisk module at 11:04 p.m.

Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineer Steve Swanson of NASA are riding inside the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft. They will orbit the Earth four times before they rendezvous and approach the orbital laboratory.

The gantry arms begin to close around the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft to secure the rocket Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The gantry arms begin to close around the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft to secure the rocket Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

After docking, they will go through a series of leak and pressure checks between the two spacecraft before finally opening the hatches to the station almost two hours later. The trio will enter into the Poisk module and greet Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration
Agency and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos.

After a welcoming ceremony and congratulatory words with family, friends and mission officials, the new orbiting sextet will conduct a mandatory safety orientation. All six crew members then will have an off-duty day Wednesday as they relax having shifted their schedules to accommodate the busy launch and docking activities.

As is customary, Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev will have several days set aside to familiarize themselves with their new home in space. The new trio will also assist the veteran crewmates as they adjust to living and working in space for six months.

Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev are scheduled to return home in September as Expedition 40 crew members. They will officially become Expedition 40 when Expedition 39 crew members Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin end their mission and undock in their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft in May for their return to Earth.

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