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New Crew Members Arrive at Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri May 29, 2009 3:48 pm
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(NASA) – Three new crew members arrived at the International Space Station at 8:34 a.m. EDT Friday. After launching from Kazakhstan on Wednesday, flight engineers Roman Romanenko, Robert Thirsk and Frank De Winne spent two days in space aboard the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft before docking to the to the earth-facing port of the Zarya module.

Awaiting the newest arrivals were the Expedition 19 crew members Commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Koichi Wakata and Mike Barratt. Hatch opening between the Soyuz and Zarya occurred at 10:14 a.m. signifying the beginning of Expedition 20 and six-person crew operations. A welcome ceremony and a safety briefing for the new arrivals followed.

Image above: The Soyuz TMA-15 carrying Expedition 20 is viewed several moments before docking to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 20 marks the first time that 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. The two cosmonauts Padalka and Romanenko are from Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency; Barratt is from NASA; Thirsk is from the Canadian Space Agency; De Winne is from the European Space Agency; and Wakata is from the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency.

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