Newest Space Station Crew Members Launch From Kazakhstan

WASHINGTON -- NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry
Kondratyev, and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli
launched to the International Space Station from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:09 p.m. EST Wednesday (1:09 a.m. local
time, Dec. 16).

Coleman, Kondratyev and Nespoli are scheduled to dock their Soyuz
TMA-20 spacecraft to the station's Rassvet docking port at 3:12 p.m.,
Friday, Dec. 17. They will join Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly
and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka aboard the
orbiting laboratory.

On Friday, NASA Television will air docking coverage beginning at 2:30
p.m. Coverage of the hatches opening and a welcoming ceremony aboard
the station will begin at 5:30 p.m. For NASA TV streaming video,
schedule and downlink information, visit:


During Expedition 26, the six-person crew will continue scientific
research, perform station maintenance and welcome several visiting vehicles.

Kondratyev and Skripochka will conduct two spacewalks, which are
scheduled for Jan. 21 and late February. They will install an antenna
to complete an information transfer system that sends large computer
files to and from the station. The spacewalkers also will perform
work on the outside of the Russian station modules.

In addition to space shuttle Discovery's planned STS-133 visit in
February, the Expedition 26 crew is expecting the arrival of three
resupply vehicles in January and February.

The second Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency H-II Transfer Vehicle,
called Kounotori, or white stork, is scheduled to launch Jan. 20 from
the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. It will be attached
robotically to the Earth-facing docking port on the station's Harmony
module on Jan. 27.

The second European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, named for
famed mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, is scheduled to
launch from Kourou, French Guiana, on Feb. 15. It will dock to the
aft port of the Zvezda service module on Feb. 26.
The Russian Progress 41 resupply craft is scheduled to launch from
Baikonur on Jan. 28 and dock to the Pirs docking compartment on Jan. 31.

Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka, who launched to the station on Oct. 7,
are scheduled to return to Earth in March. Before departing, Kelly
will hand over command of the station to Kondratyev for Expedition 27.

NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and
Alexander Samokutyaev will join Coleman, Kondratyev and Nespoli
aboard the station on April 1 to complete the Expedition 27 crew.
Their launch is set for March 30.

For updates about the space station and Expedition 26/27 crew members, visit:


To view the new official International Space Station page on Facebook
and follow crew member posts from space, visit:


To follow Twitter updates from Expedition 26/27 crew member Coleman, visit:


Source: NASA

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