Russian Soyuz Rockets Toward International Space Station
NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov
and Mikhail Kornienko are headed to the International Space Station aboard a
Soyuz spacecraft. Liftoff occurred April 2 at 12:04
a.m. EDT from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
They are expected to reach the ISS April 4.
The flight occurs just days before the space shuttle Discovery is scheduled for a 13-day mission to the ISS on April 5.
Abroad the Soyuz are NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko. Aboard the orbiting laboratory, they will join Oleg Kotov, a Russian cosmonaut and station commander; T.J. Creamer, a NASA astronaut and flight engineer; and Soichi Noguchi, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut and flight engineer. The expanded Expedition 23 crew will continue science investigations and support two space shuttle missions to the station.
Kotov, Creamer and Noguchi reached the ISS on Dec. 21, 2009. They are scheduled to return to Earth on June 2. Before their departure, Kotov will hand over command of the station to Skvortsov for Expedition 24. In June, NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin will join Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko in orbit to complete the Expedition 24 crew.
Discovery will carry a multipurpose logistics module filled with science racks for the laboratories aboard the station. The mission has three planned spacewalks, with work to include replacing an ammonia tank assembly, retrieving a Japanese experiment from the station's exterior and switching out a rate gyro assembly on the S0 segment of the station's truss structure.
STS-131 will be the 33rd shuttle mission to the station.