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Expedition 29 Welcomes New Crewmates
11.16.11
 
Soyuz TMA-22

The Soyuz TMA-22 carrying three new Expedition 29 crew members rendezvous with the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 29

All six Expedition 29 crew members participate in a welcoming ceremony following the opening of the hatches between the Soyuz-TMA-22 and the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin docked to the International Space Station’s Poisk mini-research module at 12:24 a.m. EST Wednesday. The trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:14 p.m. EST Sunday (10:14 a.m. Monday, Kazakhstan time).

› View docking video

After the hatches between Soyuz and station were opened at 2:39 a.m., Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum of NASA and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov welcomed the new flight engineers aboard for their four-month stay on the orbiting complex.

The six station crew members will have a little less than a week together as the Expedition 29 crew before Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov head home Monday aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft that brought them to the station June 9. Their departure will mark the beginning of Expedition 30, under the command of Burbank. A formal change-of-command ceremony is planned for Sunday.

Three additional Expedition 30 flight engineers -- NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers -- are scheduled to launch to the station Dec. 21.

Burbank is making his third visit to the station. His previous two visits were both aboard space shuttle Atlantis. During the STS-106 mission in September 2000, he helped prepare the station for its first permanent crew. During STS-115 in September 2006, he conducted a 7-hour, 11-minute spacewalk that completed truss installation, activated the solar alpha rotary joint and enabled the solar arrays to be deployed.

This is the first spaceflight for both Shkaplerov and Ivanishin.