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New Expedition 30 Crew Members Launch to Station
The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft launches

The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft carrying three new Expedition 30 flight engineers launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers launched at 8:16 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The three new International Space Station crew members launched in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft beginning a two-day trip to the orbiting outpost.

› Watch a video of the launch

They are set to dock to the station's Rassvet mini-research module about 10:22 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23. Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin will welcome their new crewmates aboard the station a little while later when they open the hatches about 1 p.m.

Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers are scheduled to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory until May. They will become members of the Expedition 31 crew under the command of Kononenko when Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin undock in their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft in March.