Friday, December 23, 2011

Expedition 30 Crew At Full Strength


Posting a few updates to add some rocket’s red glare to your holiday glow. The big space news today was the arrival of three more crew members at the International Space Station, bringing the station up to its planned capacity of six. Following the end of the shuttle program and the loss of a Soyuz based cargo craft, the capacity had been halved.

NASA provided the following update on today’s successful docking and some of the highlights of the crew’s mission. They are expected to witness space history in February when an unmanned SpaceX Dragon capsule will fly the first commercial cargo mission to the I.S.S., which will also be a milestone on SpaceX’s road to certifying the Dragon for commercial crew transport missions.

From Nasa.gov:

New Expedition 30 Crew Members Welcomed Aboard Station

The International Space Station is now fully staffed with a six-member crew. Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers were welcomed aboard the orbiting complex when the hatches between the station and the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft were opened at 12:43 p.m. EST on Friday. They docked to the Rassvet module at 10:19 a.m.

The International Space Station is now fully staffed with a six-member crew. Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers were welcomed aboard the orbiting complex when the hatches between the station and the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft were opened at 12:43 p.m. EST on Friday. They docked to the Rassvet module at 10:19 a.m.

They launched at 8:16 a.m. (7:16 p.m. local time) on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers are scheduled to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory until May.  The new trio joins Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin who have been living and working on the station since Nov. 16.

After a safety briefing, the station’s newest residents will begin a series of ongoing orientation activities to begin the process of familiarizing themselves with their new home aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Over the holiday weekend, the six station residents will continue regular maintenance duties and ongoing scientific research. They also will perform their daily physical exercise routines, enjoy some off-duty time and have an opportunity to speak with family members.ily members.

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