Soyuz TMA-10 Set For Launch April 7
NASA reports the latest
crew bound for the International Space Station is preparing to take
flight in just over two days. Expedition 15 crewmembers Commander
Fyodor Yurchikhin (right) and cosmonaut Oleg Kotov (center) are
scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at
about 1330 EDT on April 7, to begin a six-month stay in space.
With them will be Spaceflight Participant Charles Simonyi (shown
at left), an American flying under contract with the Russian
Federal Space Agency. He will return to Earth with Expedition 14
crew members, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer
Mikhail Tyurin, on April 20. Expedition 14 launched to the station
last Septemder 18.
After its April 7 launch, Expedition 15's Soyuz TMA-10
spacecraft is scheduled to dock at the station a little after 1500
EDT on April 9.
There they will be greeted by their third Expedition 15 crew
member, astronaut Sunita Williams. She launched to the station
aboard the STS-116 mission of Discovery on December 9 and arrived
at the station December 11. She joined Expedition 14 in progress,
and will provide Expedition 15 with an experienced flight engineer
for the early part of its increment.
Williams, 41, is a Naval Academy graduate and a Navy commander.
She flew helicopters and was a helicopter test pilot before being
selected as an astronaut in 1998.
Yurchikhin, 48, will be making his second flight into space. He
was a member of the STS-112 crew which launched to the station on
Oct. 7, 2002, with the Starboard 1 Truss. He holds a Ph.D. in
economics and was named a cosmonaut-candidate in 1997.
Kotov, 41, is making his first spaceflight. He graduated from
the Moscow Medical Academy in 1988, and was named a
cosmonaut-candidate in 1996.
Astronaut Clayton Anderson is scheduled to replace Williams as a
flight engineer during Expedition 15. Anderson, 48, holds a
master's degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State
University. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998 and will be
making his first spaceflight.
Two Expedition 16 crew members are expected to arrive next fall
to replace Yurchikhin and Kotov.