MISSION CONTROL (Korolyov, Moscow region), December 23 (RIA Novosti)
- New crew on course for space station
- Space station's new crew prepares for blastoff
- Soyuz docks with International Space Station
The Russian Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft docked with the International Space Station on Friday with a new crew of three onboard.
The spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
The new crew - NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers - will increase ISS numbers to six.
The new crew will spend 147 days aboard the station and will carry out about 40 scientific experiments.
The mission's program also includes the docking of five freighters from different states: two Russian Progress spacecraft, the European unmanned cargo resupply spacecraft ATV-003 Edoardo Amaldi and two U.S. freighters.
ISS crewmembers will also conduct a spacewalk.
The scientific program features more than a hundred experiments, with 71 of them part of a Russian scientific program.
Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers will join Expedition 30 commander Dan Burbank, Soyuz TMA-22 commander Anton Shkaplerov and flight engineer Anatoly Ivanishin, who arrived at the station on November 13.
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