The tenth crew of the International Space Station rocketed into space tonight, beginning a six-month mission.
The ISS Soyuz 9 spacecraft carried Station Expedition 10 Commander and NASA Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov to orbit along with Russian Space Forces Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin.
The Soyuz launched at 10:06 p.m. CDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. At the time, the Station was flying in a northeasterly direction about 230 miles above Africa. With Sharipov at the controls, the Soyuz is on course to catch up and dock with the Station at 11:25 p.m. CDT Friday, Oct. 15.
The hatches between the arriving Soyuz 9 spacecraft and the Station will be opened at about 2:25 a.m. CDT Saturday. Live NASA Television coverage of the docking and hatch opening will begin at 10:30 p.m. CDT Friday.
Chiao and Sharipov will stay aboard the Station until April, while Shargin will spend eight days onboard conducting science experiments. Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka, Flight Engineer and Science Officer Mike Fincke and Shargin will undock from the Station and return to Earth Oct. 23.
Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates, as well as Station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at:
Details on Station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:
The next ISS status report will be issued following docking on Friday, Oct. 15, or earlier, if events warrant.
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