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Expanded Expedition 39 Crew Relaxes After Busy Soyuz Activities

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:26 pm via: NASA
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The newly expanded Expedition 39 crew is resting Friday after launch and docking activities for the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft this week. The International Space Station’s newest arrivals spent two days in space on their trek to join their orbiting crewmates.

The new trio docked Thursday to the Poisk docking compartment at 7:53 p.m. EDT and opened the hatches less than two hours later to greet Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mikhail Tyurin.

The sextet then gathered inside the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with words of congratulations from family members and mission officials. Afterward the crew got together for a safety briefing to familiarize themselves with the station’s emergency gear, escape routes and team member roles.

Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov, Steve Swanson and Oleg Artemyev launched Tuesday night from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, expecting a six-hour ride to their new home in space. However, thruster issues on the Soyuz spacecraft turned the express mission into a two-day flight.

The entire crew was off-duty Friday as they sleep-shifted to get back into their normal schedules having stayed up late Thursday night. They will also have a light-duty weekend.

As is customary, Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev will have several days set aside to familiarize themselves with their new home in space.

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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