The Soyuz with the 11th International Space Station crew, Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and Astronaut John Phillips, docked with the orbiting laboratory at 10:20 p.m. EDT Saturday. Crewmembers opened hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz capsule at 12:45 a.m. EDT Sunday to begin almost eight days of joint operations.
With this Station crew is European Space Agency Astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy. Expedition 11's Krikalev and Phillips will spend about six months aboard the Space Station. Vittori will conduct experiments aboard the station before returning to Earth with the Expedition 10 crew.
That crew, Commander Leroy Chiao and Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, has been on the Station since October. They will leave the Station April 24 in the Soyuz that brought them to the orbiting laboratory. Their landing is scheduled for 6:08 p.m. EDT that day in Kazakhstan.
Expedition 11 and Vittori launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:46 p.m. Thursday.
Expedition 11 Commander Krikalev is a veteran of five previous spaceflights, including two missions to the Russian space station Mir and two Shuttle flights. He was a member of the first Station crew, serving aboard a much smaller ISS from Nov. 2, 2000, to March 18, 2001. He has spent a year, 5 months and 10 days in space. This flight should see him become the world's most experienced space traveler.
Expedition 11 Will Welcome Discovery to Station
Highlights of the new Expedition 11 International Space Station crew's mission include welcoming the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on its STS-114 mission, the first Shuttle flight since the Columbia accident. Discovery crewmembers will conduct three spacewalks at the Station, deliver several tons of equipment and supplies and return to Earth with equipment and scientific experiments and trash from the Station.
Sergei Krikalev and Astronaut John also will welcome the arrival of two Progress unpiloted supply vehicles. ISS Progress 18 is scheduled to reach the Station in June and ISS Progress 19 should be launched near the end of August.
In August, Krikalev and Phillips will move their Soyuz spacecraft from the Pirs docking compartment to the Zarya docking port. That will permit use of the Pirs Airlock for spacewalks.
Explore further: Russian, American ready for a year in space