Monday, June 21, 2010

Three new crew members Join Expedition 24

Three new crew members arrived at the International Space Station joining Expedition 24. Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin, Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker docked the Soyuz TMA-19 to the aft end of the Zvezda service module Thursday at 6:21 p.m. EDT.

At 8:52 p.m. the hatches were opened between the station and the Soyuz spacecraft. The new crew joined Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko and began safety briefings and familiarization activities.

Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats and NASA Spaceflight Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier were in Russia and offered their congratulations to the new station crew members. Family, friends and co-workers of the crew also offered their best wishes during a live video conference shortly after hatch opening.

Before the Soyuz TMA-19 arrived, the station crew shifted its sleep schedule to greet the new arrivals. The six-member crew slept in on Friday and will take a half day off on Saturday before beginning orientation activities onboard the orbiting laboratory.

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