Completed Soyuz Relocation Sets Stage for New Crew

Aug. 28, 2015 International Space Station Configuration
(Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. Japan’s “Kounotori” HTV-5 is berthed to the Harmony module.

International Space Station Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos docked their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory’s Zvezda service module at 3:30 a.m. EDT. The crew members undocked from the Poisk module at 3:12 a.m.

The move of the Soyuz spacecraft clears the Poisk module for the arrival of Expedition 45 crew member Sergei Volkov of Roscosmos, and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. They are scheduled to launch to the station in a Soyuz spacecraft designated TMA-18M at 12:37 a.m. Wednesday (10:37 a.m. Baikonur time), Sept. 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This will be the first time since November 2013 that nine crew members will be aboard the station simultaneously. Mogensen and Aimbetov will return to Earth with Padalka on Saturday, Sept. 12 in the Soyuz TMA-16M that was just relocated. In March 2016, the arriving Soyuz TMA-18M will return with Volkov, as well as one-year mission crew members Kelly and Kornienko, who arrived on station in March to begin collecting biomedical data crucial to NASA’s human journey to Mars.

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