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Station Crew Ready for Expedition 20

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri May 29, 2009 6:39 am
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(NASA) – Expedition 20 Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko, Frank De Winne and Robert Thirsk, aboard their Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft, are continuing to close in on the International Space Station following Wednesday’s 6:34 a.m. EDT launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz and its crew will arrive at the station on Friday to begin a six-month stay in space, with docking scheduled at 8:36 a.m. They will join the station’s current residents Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Mike Barratt and Koichi Wakata.

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Image above: The Expedition 20 crew members take a break from training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to pose for a crew portrait. Credit: NASA

The arrival of the new crew members will mark the start of Expedition 20 and six-person crew operations aboard the station. All five of the international partner agencies – NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency – will be represented on orbit for the first time. Hatch opening is scheduled for 9:45 a.m.

Aboard the station, the Expedition 19 crew made final preparations Thursday for the arrival of the Soyuz and its crew. They also continued their regular maintenance activities and made preparations for upcoming spacewalks on June 5 and 10.

Padalka and Barratt set up and tested communications equipment to prepare for Friday’s Soyuz docking.

Padalka also worked on the Progress cargo ship’s water tank and completed routine maintenance activities in the Zvezda service module.

Barratt and Wakata had time set aside to complete Crew Medical Officer proficiency training.

The three crew members participated in a planning conference with ground controllers to prepare for upcoming spacewalks. They also had time to complete their daily exercise sessions to counteract the effects of long-term exposure to the microgravity environment of space.

A crew news conference featuring all six Expedition 20 crewmembers is set for 10:25 a.m. Monday, June 1.

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