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New Expedition 34 Trio Arrives in Baikonur, Kazakhstan
Tom Marshburn, Roman Romanenko and Chris Hadfield

(From left) Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn, Roman Romanenko and Chris Hadfield are seen in Star City, Russia, before departing to Baikonur, Kazakhstan, for final launch preparations. Credit: NASA TV

Commander Kevin Ford

Commander Kevin Ford talks to CBS News and CNN Thursday morning from the Destiny laboratory. Credit: NASA TV

With less than two weeks before a new trio launches to the International Space Station, the onboard residents focused primarily on maintenance Thursday.

The next trio of Expedition 34 crew members left the Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, to begin pre-launch training. They arrived Thursday in Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in preparation for their Dec. 19 launch to join their orbiting crewmates. Flight Engineers Chris Hadfield, Roman Romanenko and Tom Marshburn will wear their launch and entry suits on Friday and enter the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft for familiarization tests.

Aboard the space station, Commander Kevin Ford worked throughout the day in the Quest airlock cleaning cooling loops on the American spacesuits. Maintenance is critical in order to ensure the suits are ready in the event a spacewalk is necessary to make repairs outside the station.

With the end of the shuttle program the suits cannot be replaced as often for repairs and it is necessary to keep them in operating condition. The U.S. suits can be resized to accommodate a crew member’s size.

Ford spent some time in the afternoon replacing caution and warning batteries in the crew quarters located throughout the station. He also conducted some plumbing work checking a water container, cleaning a beverage adapter and replacing a life support system recycle tank.

The three-member Expedition 34 crew also conducted a pair of public events with the ground. Ford conducted live interviews with CBS News and CNN. Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin recorded a video greeting to the veterans of Combat Brotherhood and for the 90th Anniversary of the Lyubertsy Y. A. Gagarin Polytechnic School.

Novitskiy and Tarelkin continued their maintenance in the station’s Russian segment. They cleaned and installed fans and monitored airflow sensors. The duo also worked on the ongoing BAR experiment that tests tools and procedures for finding pressure leaks on the station.