Over the next several weeks, NASA Television will provide coverage of the departure of three crew members from the International Space Station and prelaunch, launch and arrival activities of three new residents.
Coverage will begin Wednesday, June 20, with the first of a series of Video Files of Expedition 32/33 Flight Engineers Suni Williams of NASA, Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) participating in training and ceremonial activities at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
On June 29, NASA TV will broadcast a change of command ceremony aboard the orbiting laboratory in which Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos will hand over the reins of command to Gennady Padalka. Padalka, a cosmonaut for Roscosmos, will become the International Space Station’s first three-time commander. When the Soyuz TMA-03M undocks on June 30, Expedition 31 will transition to Expedition 32 under Padalka’s command.
Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit of NASA and Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency will depart the station in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft June 30 for a July 1 landing in Kazakhstan to complete their six-and-a-half-month mission. Two weeks later, July 14 (July 15 in Kazakhstan), Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko will launch to the station in the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The three will arrive at the station July 16 to join Padalka and Flight Engineers Joe Acaba of NASA and Sergei Revin of Roscosmos, who have been aboard the station since mid-May.
Fresh off the arrival of three new crew members at the International Space Station, the next trio of residents is set to launch to the outpost Dec. 21. NASA Television will cover prelaunch activities, launch and docking to the orbital laboratory during the next several weeks.
Expedition 30 NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers are scheduled to launch at 7:16 a.m. CST on Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft to begin a two-day trip to the station. They are set to dock to the station’s Rassvet module at approximately 9:20 a.m. on Dec. 23.
Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers will join Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been on the station since Nov. 16. Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers will remain on the station until May as members of the Expedition 31 crew.
The clock is ticking for the first Soyuz flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The rocket, which will carry the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system into orbit, is being prepared for launch on 20 October.
Final assembly began on 12 September of the three-stage Soyuz ST-B, consisting of four first-stage boosters clustered around the core second stage, topped off by the third stage.
The Launcher Flight Readiness Review in July gave the green light to begin assembling the rocket.
The campaign began on 16 August in the assembly and testing building – known by its original ‘MIK’ Russian acronym – with electrical and mechanical tests of the upgraded, reignitable Fregat-MT upper stage. It will carry an additional 900 kg of propellants for its double-satellite load.
Three International Space Station crew members safely returned to Earth Thursday, Sept. 15, wrapping up a six-month mission of research and exploration.
NASA’s Ron Garan, Expedition 28 commander Andrey Borisenko and flight engineer Alexander Samokutyaev, both of the Russian Federal Space Agency, landed their Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 11:59 a.m. EDT (9:59 a.m. in Kazakhstan). The trio, which arrived at the station on April 6, had been scheduled to land on Sept. 8, but that was postponed because of the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo ship.
NASA and its international partners have agreed to a tentative launch schedule with crew flights to the International Space Station resuming on Nov. 14.
The Space Station Control Board, with representation from all partner agencies, set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s findings on the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo craft. The dates may be adjusted to reflect minor changes in vehicle processing timelines.