Saturday, May 30, 2009


The crew of the International Space Station doubled on Friday, with the arrival of the latest Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three new astronauts.
In the past, the three crew members on board would immediately head home on the Soyuz. But now, with a full complement of solar panels, ample room and a working water-recycling system, the station is finally ready to be a full-time home for six.
The Soyuz, carrying Roman Romanenko of Russia, Frank De Winne of Belgium and Robert Thirsk of Canada, was launched Wednesday from Kazakhstan. It docked at 8:34 a.m. Eastern time Friday, and after checks for leaks, the hatches between the Soyuz and the station opened at 10:14 a.m.
The current crew — Gennady Padalka of Russia, the station commander, Michael Barratt of NASA and Koichi Wakata of JAXA, the Japanese space agency — greeted the newcomers.

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