The International Space Station crew is awaiting the arrival of three new members that will usher in an era of six-person crews aboard the orbiting laboratory. Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bob Thirsk launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft at 6:34 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 27 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will spend 6 months in space.
The Soyuz is scheduled to dock with the station at 8:36 a.m. EDT Friday, May 29. The trio will join station Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Mike Barratt of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to form the Expedition 20 crew. It will mark the first time all five partner agencies are represented by astronauts on the station at the same time.