Spaceflight Insider

Space station crews prepare for relocation, launch and landing

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (left), Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin (center) and NASA Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio pose for pictures with a model of the Olympic torch. Photo credit: NASA

November will be a busy month aboard the International Space Station (ISS), beginning with a trip from one end of the space station to the other. On Friday, November 1. Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) along with flight engineers Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmintano of the European Space Agency (ESA) will fly a Soyuz spacecraft from its docking port to another docking port at the other end of the station. NASA TV coverage of the transfer will begin at 4:00 a.m.  EDT. Undocking is scheduled to begin  4:34 a.m. The relocation maneuvering should take 24 minutes.

The relocation of the Soyuz will open up the docking port for the arrival of another Soyuz carrying members of Expedition 38/39.  Flight Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA) are scheduled to launch from from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:14 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 6. The crew will bring with them the Olympic torch, which will be used to ignite the Olympic flame at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The arrival of the Soyuz will bring the total of crew members aboard the ISS to nine. This will be the first time since May 2009 that so many crew members have served together aboard the station without a space shuttle.

 On Sunday, November 10 Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmintano will undock from the station in a Soyuz for a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan at 9:50 p.m. EST. NASA TV coverage of the hatch-closing at 2:30 p.m. with a replay of the change of command ceremony. Undocking coverage begins at 6 p.m. and coverage of the deorbit and landing begin at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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Jim Sharkey is a lab assistant, writer and general science enthusiast who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab and Shuttle astronaut Owen K. Garriott. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise. While his academic studies have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. Jim began blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004. Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.

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