HOUSTON -- Just in time for the holidays, the residents of the International Space Station will welcome three new crew members.
NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit, Russian Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands are set to launch in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:16 a.m. CST on Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time).
NASA Television will air video of prelaunch activities at 5:45 a.m. and provide live coverage of the launch beginning at 6:30 a.m.
On Friday, Dec. 23, the trio will dock to the Rassvet module of the station at 9:22 a.m. The new crew will join station Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the orbital laboratory since mid-November. NASA TV will provide live coverage beginning at 8:45 a.m. Hatch opening and the holiday welcoming ceremony will occur about three hours later.
Burbank has discussed what it will be like to spend the holidays in his home away from home, 240 miles above the Earth. Video is available online at:
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