Both E18 Crewmembers Have Previous ISS Experience
Commander Edward Michael "Mike" Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury
Valentinovich Lonchakov of the 18th International Space Station
crew docked their Soyuz TMA-13 to the Earth-facing port of the
Zarya module at 0426 EDT Tuesday.
Hatches between the two spacecraft were opened at 0555. A
welcome ceremony and a safety briefing for the new arrivals
As ANN reported, the new crew launched from
the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0301 EDT Sunday to begin a
six-month stay in space.
With Fincke, an Air Force colonel, and Lonchakov, a colonel in
the Russian Air Force, is spaceflight participant Richard Garriott,
flying under contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.
Garriott will return to Earth with Expedition 17 crew members,
Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, in
their Soyuz TMA-12 on October 23. Expedition 17 launched to the
station April 8.
Aboard the station to welcome Expedition 18 crew members was the
Expedition 17 crew, including astronaut Gregory E. Chamitoff. He
launched to the station on the STS-124 mission of Discovery May 31.
He joined Expedition 17 in progress and will provide Expedition 18
with an experienced flight engineer for the first part of its
Fincke, 41, is making his second
long-duration flight on the station, having previously served as a
flight engineer on Expedition 9 from April to October 2004. An Air
Force flight test engineer, Fincke was selected by NASA in 1996. He
was also commander of the second NASA Extreme Environment Mission
Operations (NEEMO 2), working seven days on the seafloor off
Florida in May 2002.
Lonchakov, 43, is a graduate of the Orenburg Air Force Pilot
School and the Zhukovski Air Force Academy. He is a class 1 air
force pilot, with over 1,400 hours of flight time. He was selected
as a test cosmonaut candidate in late 1997. Lonchakov has flown two
previous space missions, STS-100 to the station in April 2001 and a
Soyuz delivery flight to the station in October and November
Astronaut Sandra H. Magnus is scheduled to fly to the station on
STS-126 to replace Chamitoff as a flight engineer on E18. Magnus,
43, will be replaced near the end of Expedition 18 by Japanese
astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will launch on Discovery on the
STS-119 mission. Magnus holds bachelor's and master's degrees in
physics from the University of Missouri-Rolla and a Ph.D. from
Georgia Institute of Technology.
She was selected as an astronaut in 1996. Magnus will be making
her second spaceflight. She flew as a mission specialist on STS-112
in October 2002.