HOUSTON – NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin launched to the International Space Station aboard their Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft at 4:35 p.m. CDT Tuesday (3:35 a.m. Wednesday local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Wheelock, Walker and Soyuz commander Yurchikhin are scheduled to dock with their new home at 5:25 p.m. Thursday, June 17. They will join Expedition 24 crewmates Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a NASA astronaut, and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov, the station commander, and Mikhail Kornienko aboard the orbiting laboratory.
On Thursday, coverage of the Soyuz docking will begin on NASA Television at 5 p.m. NASA TV will return at 9 p.m. for coverage of the hatches opening and the welcoming ceremony aboard the station. For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit:
During Expedition 24, the six-person crew will continue scientific research investigations and station maintenance activities. On June 28, Yurchikhin, Wheelock and Walker will climb back into their Soyuz spacecraft and move it to the newly-delivered Mini-Research Module-1, or Rassvet.
The mission also includes three spacewalks, one conducted by Russian cosmonauts Yurchikhin and Kornienko on July 26 and two by NASA astronauts Wheelock and Caldwell Dyson on Aug. 5 and 17.
Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko, who launched to the station on April 2, are scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 24. Before departing, Skvortsov will hand over command of the station to Wheelock for Expedition 25, which begins when the Soyuz TMA-18 undocks Sept. 24.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka will join Wheelock, Walker and Yurchikhin in orbit on Oct. 10 to complete the Expedition 25 crew. Their launch is set for Oct. 8.
Expedition 24/25 crew member Walker will blog about her experiences in orbit. To find her blog and for more information about the space station, visit:
To follow Twitter updates from Expedition 24/25 crew member Wheelock, visit:
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Johnson Space Center, Houston