Soyuz Docks with Space Station

October 12, 2007
Soyuz Docks with Space Station
The Expedition 15 (back row) and Expedition 16 crews along with Malaysian spaceflight participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor gather in the Destiny laboratory to receive congratulations from mission representatives on the ground. Credit: NASA TV

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko of the 16th International Space Station crew docked their Soyuz TMA-11 with the orbiting laboratory at 10:50 a.m. EDT Friday to begin a six-month stay aboard.

With them is spaceflight participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. He is a Malaysian flying under contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

He will return to Earth with Expedition 15 crew members, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov, Oct. 21. Expedition 15 launched to the station last April 7.

Expedition 16 crew members were welcomed by the Expedition 15 crew, including astronaut Clay Anderson, the third Expedition 15 crew member. He launched to the station aboard the STS-117 mission of Atlantis June 8. He joined Expedition 15 in progress and will provide Expedition 16 with an experienced flight engineer for the first few days of its increment.

Whitson, 47, is on her second mission to the station. She served as a flight engineer on the Expedition 5 crew, launching June 5, 2002, and returning to Earth Dec. 7, after almost 185 days in space. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rice University in Houston. She began working for NASA as a research biochemist in 1989 and was selected as an astronaut in 1996.

Malenchenko, 45, a Russian Air Force colonel, is making his third long-duration spaceflight. He spent 126 days aboard the Russian space station Mir beginning July 1, 1994, and commanded the two-person station crew on Expedition 7, spending 185 days in space beginning April 26, 2003. He also was a member of the STS-106 crew of Atlantis on an almost-12-day mission to the station beginning Sept. 8, 2000. He is a graduate of the Kharkov Military Aviation School and the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy.

Anderson, 48, holds a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998. This is his first spaceflight.

Astronaut Daniel Tani is scheduled to launch aboard the STS-120 flight of Discovery to replace Anderson as a flight engineer during Expedition 16. Tani, 46, holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was selected as an astronaut in 1996 and flew on Endeavour's STS-108 mission in December 2001. He will be making his second spaceflight.

Astronaut Daniel Tani is scheduled to launch aboard the STS-120 flight of Discovery to replace Anderson as a flight engineer during Expedition 16. Tani, 46, holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was selected as an astronaut in 1996 and flew on Endeavour's STS-108 mission in December 2001. He will be making his second spaceflight.

Two Expedition 17 crew members are expected to arrive next spring to replace Whitson and Malenchenko.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Launch, docking returns International Space Station crew to full strength

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