The first of two Christmas space deliveries is set to arrive early Wednesday morning. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo craft is on its way to the International Space Station where it will be captured and berthed to the Unity module around 6:10 a.m. EST/11:10 a.m. UTC. The next holiday shipment will be delivered Dec. 23 aboard Russia’s Progress 62 resupply ship.
Meanwhile, three Expedition 45 crew members are packing their Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft and getting ready for the ride back to Earth Dec. 11. Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko will pilot astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui to the landing site in Kazakhstan after 141 days in space.
Four days later, three new Expedition 46 crew members will launch to the orbital laboratory to join One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko with cosmonaut Sergey Volkov. First-time British astronaut Tim Peake will lift off Dec. 15 aboard the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft with Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra for a six-month mission in space.