Tracy Caldwell Dyson, NASA astronaut, and Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, Russian cosmonauts, safely launched to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft today. Liftoff occurred at 12:04 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The three Soyuz crewmembers are scheduled to dock with their new home at 1:26 a.m. Sunday, April 4. Aboard the orbiting laboratory, they will join Oleg Kotov, a Russian cosmonaut and station commander, T.J. Creamer, a NASA astronaut and flight engineer, and Soichi Noguchi, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut and flight engineer. The expanded Expedition 23 crew will continue science investigations and support two space shuttle missions to the station.
Kotov, Creamer, and Noguchi launched to the station December 21, 2009. They are scheduled to return to Earth June 2, 2010. Before their departure, Kotov will hand over command of the station to Skvortsov for Expedition 24. In June, Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker, NASA astronauts, and Fyodor Yurchikhin, Russian cosmonaut, will join Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson, and Kornienko in orbit to complete the Expedition 24 crew.
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